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Silicon nanotubes could be more efficient for hydrogen fuel cells

Posted on Monday, April 28 2008 @ 00:42:37 CEST by

DailyTech writes a team of Chinese researchers discovered silicon nanotubes may be more efficient at absorbing hydrogen molecules than carbon nanotubes:
Carbon has also been threatening to dethrone silicon from some of its greatest conquests, such as the integrated circuit and the transistor. While many argue that carbon computers are years if not decades off, silicon may not be useless to electronics in the future either. Chinese researchers, led by Dapeng Cao, claim that the ultimate hydrogen storage mechanism for use in fuel cells may not be carbon nanotubes as previously thought, but rather silicon nanotubes.

In their simulations, silicon nanotubes absorbed hydrogen molecules more efficiently than carbon under normal fuel cell operating conditions.

Cao's team's calculations are important because carbon-based nanotubes are falling short of the U.S. Department of Energy's hydrogen storage goals for fuel cells. The DoE is looking for something better and silicon may be it. The new calculations will ultimately help determine if silicon nanotubes can meet their expectations.



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