A small, very tiny bead, placed in your fuel tank that can act as a fuel for your car. This may sound really out there but a company in Britain states they have the technology and have cars running on it now. From a consumer’s perspective I have many questions and high hopes that all the hype is true.
The technology is hydrogen nanobeads of ammonia-borane hydride. In her article Green Machine: Fill up your car with hydrogen beads by Helen Knight dated 01 February 2011 she states “Storing hydrogen fuels has long been a problem for engineers, as liquid hydrogen must be held at extremely low temperatures.” Cella Energy has overcome this by using the hydrogen nanobeads in place of storing liquid hydrogen.
As a consumer I wanted to know how and to understand this better. It appears that the solid nanobeads act just like a liquid and can be poured, pumped, and stored like gasoline. If you are like me you probably had images of your car engine be clogged with a plastic mess as your engine tried to burn it. The main point of the nanobeads is not be burned themselves but they act like miniature fuel tanks as each bead holds an amount of hydrogen gas that can be burned as fuel in your car. This sounded much better to me and I am sure my car engine was breathing much easier.
The allure of nanobeads over the current liquid hydrogen is convenience. Beside having to store liquid hydrogen at almost absolute zero degrees in a very bulky and pressurized tank, nanobeads can be pumped like gasoline into your current fuel tank on your car. To release the hydrogen contained in the nanobeads they are heated to 80 degrees celsius (176 degrees fahrenheit).
Again a question arises since my car does not have a heater in the gas tank that would heat the beads…at least I hope it doesn’t have a heater like that. How can I use beads in my car without some kind of modification? I assume any modification is going to cost me money and my experience has been this cost will then reduce, if not negate any savings I would gain by using the nanobeads.
Cella’s answer is that their beads can be used in current fuels and this will reduce the green house gas emissions. In Helen Knight’s article she quotes Cella’s chief technical officer, Stephen Bennington “If you added 20 per cent of this additive, you would remove 30 per cent of the fuel’s carbon dioxide emissions.”
The final problem that Cella has encountered is how do you collect the used nonobeads and then rehydrogenize them inexpensively? If your like me there are many questions to be answered before I can see or understand a light at the end of this tunnel.
The bottom line for me as a consumer is when will it be ready for me to use in my car and most importantly, when or if I will see the cost of fueling my car go down? I believe even if the cost savings was not there and I broke even, using nanobeads, over current fossil fuels, it would be worth it as I would greatly reduce green house gas emissions and if nothing else it breaks the stranglehold that OPEC has on the world.
Based on my research I believe we are still at least a half a decade away form seeing a nanobead fuel store in our neighborhood or state but I believe that this technology holds great promise to counter our dependance on fossil fuels. I also believe that solar technology, electric cars, and other green innovations hold promise too. If only we could combine them to reduced fossil fuel use by 25%…what a coop that would be!