Home » Current Affairs » Science & Technology » Cheap hydrogen fuel using carbon nanotubes

Cheap hydrogen fuel using carbon nanotubes

Rutgers researchers have developed a technology that has potential to overcome a major cost barrier to make clean-burning hydrogen fuel.

This new technology based on catalyst on carbon nanotubes which promises in future commercially viable hydrogen production from water.

About the catalyst on carbon nanotubes technology

The new technology is a novel catalyst that performs electrolysis reactions, which use electric currents to split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen.

These catalysts on carbon nanotubes are considered as most efficient and less-expensive catalysts to-date.

It is a sustainable chemical catalyst.

The new catalyst on carbon nanotubes is basically consisting of one-atom-thick sheets of carbon rolled into tubes 10,000 times thinner than a human hair.

These nanotubes can function well in acidic, neutral or basic conditions, allowing them to be coupled with the best available oxygen-evolving catalysts that also play crucial roles in the water-splitting reaction.

Main advantage of this Hydrogen Fuel

Hydrogen has long been expected to play a vital role in our future energy requirement.

It may help to completely eliminate, our reliance on fossil fuels and is considered as fuel that could replace expensive and environmentally harmful fossil fuels.

What is a Carbon Nanotube?

A Carbon Nanotube is a tube-shaped material, made of carbon, having a diameter measuring on the nanometer scale.

A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter, or about one ten-thousandth of the thickness of a human hair.

Structure of Carbon nanotubes

Nanotubes are members of the fullerene structural family.

Their name is derived from their long, hollow structure with the walls formed by one-atom-thick sheets of carbon, called graphene.

These sheets are rolled at specific and discrete (chiral) angles, and the combination of the 

CNTrolling angle and radius decides the nanotube properties.

For example, depending upon the individual chiral angle, nanotube shell will have properties of metal or semiconductor.

Although they are formed from essentially the same graphite sheet, their electrical characteristics differ depending on these variations, acting either as metals or as semiconductors.

As a group, Carbon Nanotubes typically have diameters ranging from <1 nm up to 50 nm. Their lengths are typically several microns, but recent advancements have made the nanotubes much longer, and measured in centimeters.

Carbon Nanotubes can be categorized by their structures:

  •  Single-wall Nanotubes (SWNT)
  • Multi-wall Nanotubes (MWNT)
  • Double-wall Nanotubes (DWNT)

What are the Properties of a Carbon Nanotube?

  • The intrinsic mechanical and transport properties of Carbon Nanotubes make them the ultimate carbon fibers. 
  • Carbon Nanotubes show a unique combination of stiffness, strength, and tenacity compared to other fiber materials which usually lack one or more of these properties.
  • Thermal and electrical conductivity are also very high, and comparable to other conductive materials.

These properties are valuable for nanotechnology, electronics, optics and other fields of materials science and technology. 

Leave a Reply