A team of British researchers are refining a hydrogen-based petrol substitute due for road-testing next year and available at the pumps in three years. Being composed of hydrogen, the petrol substitute generates zero CO2 emissions and, as the team claims, could be used in all kinds of vehicles.
Unlike the present costs of petrol, the new fuel will cost about 90 pennies a gallon. The technology involves a fuel cell which combines oxygen and hydrogen to generate energy. Currently, researchers are working at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory to solve the problem regarding the current methods of storing the gas, which cause safety issues. They do this by packing hydrogen into tiny beads able to be pumped like a liquid or poured.
According to Stephen Volker, from Cellar Energy (the developer of the technology), existing vehicles could use these micro-beads without needing engine modifications. Volker also said the new method is similar to that used in electric cars, with no harmful emissions.
A similar hydrogen technology is already being used to fuel several London buses. Worldwide, many other alternatives to conventional petrol are used, such as growing crops, like sugar cane which is then used to produce fuel. AA president Edmund King is not so optimistic regarding the price of the new fuel when it hits the pumps. He believes that the government will “get its hands on it” and will tax it heavily.