Tuesday March 26, 2019
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Cars Powered by New Fuel Type Tested in Australia

There are only a handful of hydrogen-powered cars in Australia, but there are tens of thousands across Japan, South Korea and Singapore

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A Toyota Mirai fuel cell vehicle is shown ready to be fueled with CSIRO-produced hydrogen. (VOA)

Australian scientists have test driven two cars powered by a carbon-free fuel derived from ammonia. A team from the Australian government’s research agency, the CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization), says the pioneering technology will allow highly flammable hydrogen to be safely transported in the form of ammonia and used as a widely available fuel.

Researchers have found a way to use a thin membrane to turn Australian-made hydrogen into ammonia. This could be shipped safely to markets in Asia, as well as parts of Europe. At its destination, the liquid ammonia would then be converted back into hydrogen, and used to power cars and buses, as well as for electricity generation and industrial processes.

David Harris, CSIRO research director says “the special thing about the technology that we have is that it allows you to produce very pure hydrogen directly with a membrane system from ammonia.”

The technology has the support of Japanese car maker Toyota and South Korea’s Hyundai Motor Company.

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The technology has the support of Japanese car maker Toyota and South Korea’s Hyundai Motor Company.

‘Watershed moment’

Scientists say hydrogen, a highly-flammable gas that can be volatile and hard to transport safely, creates a low emission fuel for cars. The Australian team describes the membrane technology that separates hydrogen from other gases as a “watershed moment for energy.”

Claire Johnson, the chief executive of Hydrogen Mobility Australia, an industry association, says the pioneering research could forever change the transport sector.

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“We see that as a really exciting opportunity to decarbonize the transport sector, but also position Australia as one of the lead suppliers of hydrogen around the world. There is some competition to play that role, however. Norway, Brunei and Saudi Arabia have all flagged that they wish to be an exporter of hydrogen around the world.”

There are only a handful of hydrogen-powered cars in Australia, but there are tens of thousands across Japan, South Korea and Singapore. The South Korean government has recently announced plans for 16,000 more hydrogen-fueled cars and 310 special refilling stations. (VOA)

Next Story

Great Barrier Reef Faces Australian Floods Dirty Water

The water has not dispersed due to its size and a recent lack of wind.

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The water has not dispersed due to its size and a recent lack of wind. Pixabay

Dirty water from a flood crisis in north Australia has spread to parts of the Great Barrier Reef, placing it under stress, scientists have said. The floods are the result of weeks of devastating rain in Queensland. Some regions experienced the equivalent of a year’s rainfall in 10 days.

Aerial pictures show that run-off from one river has blanketed some reef areas more than 60 kilometres from shore, the BBC reported on Friday.

The UN calls the Great Barrier Reef, located in the Coral Sea off the coast of Queensland, the “most biodiverse” of all the World Heritage sites, and of “enormous scientific and intrinsic importance”.

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The floods are the result of weeks of devastating rain in Queensland. Pixabay

Scientists fear the sediment-laden waters may be blocking out light and effectively “smothering” coral.

In recent weeks, run-off from several rivers has coalesced to affect an approximately 600 kilometre stretch of the reef’s outer edges, scientists said. The water has not dispersed due to its size and a recent lack of wind.

The water has not dispersed due to its size and a recent lack of wind.The water has not dispersed due to its size and a recent lack of wind.

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Frederieke Kroon from the Australian Institute of Marine Science said the nutrient-rich water had also sparked algae growth in some areas, turning waters “a thick blanket of green”.

The reef is already facing threats to its survival such as coral bleaching caused by warmer sea temperatures. It has also been damaged by cyclones. (IANS)