As gasoline prices soar, alternative fuel research grows in popularity

August 23, 2005

Alternative fuel research is becoming increasingly important to Americans as the nation’s drivers continue to cringe at the sight of rising prices at the gas pumps.

Hybrid cars are growing in popularity, endorsed by celebrities and environmental activists alike, but these earth-friendly (and wallet-friendly) gasoline-electric vehicles soon may not be the only viable option for consumers. Though it might seem futuristic, hydrogen is being touted as the world’s next petroleum – and ASU’s Cody Friesen is helping to turn this theory into reality.

Friesen, a new professor in the departments of Chemical & Materials Engineering and Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering within the Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering, has received a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Hydrogen Program to fund his research in understanding and developing nanoscale materials for hydrogen storage and fuel cells.

“There are three main technological roadblocks that must be overcome for any potential hydrogen economy to come about,” Friesen says. “These are hydrogen production, hydrogen storage and hydrogen use.”

Hydrogen for automotive uses can be derived from a number of sources, including coal and nuclear power. The difficult part is finding the best way to transport, store and most efficiently incorporate the hydrogen into everyday life without the need for constant refueling or the disruption of a car’s performance.

Friesen is combining experimental and computational efforts, using highly sensitive and specialized instruments to assist him in his work. He also has been making preliminary calculations using the new Fulton High Performance Computing Center at ASU.

“The funding is for three years, but I expect this program will develop into a longer-term project,” he says. “My program is a new approach to catalyst research.”

While most proposals are collaborations between two or three researchers, Friesen had the determination to stand out on his own as the sole originator on the proposal he submitted to the DOE program. Though this often can be problematic, Friesen’s originality and talent won out – an accomplishment that anyone can appreciate.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

How the Earth stops high-energy neutrinos in their tracks

November 22, 2017

Neutrinos are abundant subatomic particles that are famous for passing through anything and everything, only very rarely interacting with matter. About 100 trillion neutrinos pass through your body every second. Now, scientists ...

Mysterious deep-Earth seismic signature explained

November 22, 2017

New research on oxygen and iron chemistry under the extreme conditions found deep inside the Earth could explain a longstanding seismic mystery called ultralow velocity zones. Published in Nature, the findings could have ...

Quantum internet goes hybrid

November 22, 2017

In a recent study published in Nature, ICFO researchers led by ICREA Prof. Hugues de Riedmatten report an elementary "hybrid" quantum network link and demonstrate photonic quantum communication between two distinct quantum ...

Lightning, with a chance of antimatter

November 22, 2017

A storm system approaches: the sky darkens, and the low rumble of thunder echoes from the horizon. Then without warning... Flash! Crash!—lightning has struck.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.