UMass Lowell Scientists Find Safer Way to Power Electric Vehicles Using Cobalt

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The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center has provided the team with $25,000 in seed funding to help take the invention from the lab to the marketplace

Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Lowell have developed a new and more efficient way to power electric vehicles.

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The new technique developed by Chemistry Department Chairman Prof. David Ryan and a group of UMass Lowell students, uses water, carbon dioxide and cobalt metal particles to produce hydrogen on demand at relatively low temperature and pressure.

This innovation will enable electric vehicles of all sizes to run longer while maintaining zero emissions.

The scientists explained that hydrogen can be used in fuel cells, where it would combine with oxygen from the air to generate electricity and water. The electricity would then power the system that operates the vehicle’s motor, rechargeable battery and headlights.

This means that instead of going to a gas station to get a fill-up, the driver can go to a ‘refueling’ station and get a new canister filled with cobalt metal. One can also bring extras for long trips, Ryan said.

A safer and cost-effective method  

According to Ryan, the hydrogen created through this technique is more than 95 per cent pure. This process doesn’t store any hydrogen gas and thus greatly minimizes the possibility of a fire or explosion.

Current methods of producing hydrogen are expensive and inefficient. This, coupled with the lack of needed infrastructure, has hampered the transition from a petroleum to a hydrogen economy.

“Our hope is that the catalytic hydrogen technology we have developed would help solve all of these challenges,” Ryan concluded.

The researchers have been awarded a provisional patent and are awaiting a full patent on the technology.

In addition to support from UMass Lowell, the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center has provided the team with $25,000 in seed funding to help take the invention from the lab to the marketplace.

 

(With inputs from PHYS.ORG)

 

 

 

 

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