Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Sugar + Weed Killer = Potential Clean Energy Source

Date:
September 30, 2009
Source:
Brigham Young University
Summary:
Researchers have developed a fuel cell that harvests electricity from glucose, using a common herbicide as a catalyst.

A spoonful of herbicide helps the sugar break down in a most delightful way.

Researchers at Brigham Young University have developed a fuel cell – basically a battery with a gas tank – that harvests electricity from glucose and other sugars known as carbohydrates.

The human body’s preferred energy source could someday power our gadgets, cars or homes.

“Carbohydrates are very energy rich,” said BYU chemistry professor Gerald Watt. “What we needed was a catalyst that would extract the electrons from glucose and transfer them to an electrode.”

The surprising solution turned out to be a common weed killer, as reported by Watt and his colleagues in the October issue of the Journal of The Electrochemical Society. Watt shares his wonderfully appropriate last name with his great-great-uncle James Watt, the inventor of the steam engine.

The effectiveness of this cheap and abundant herbicide is a boon to carbohydrate-based fuel cells. By contrast, hydrogen-based fuel cells like those developed by General Motors require costly platinum as a catalyst.

The next step for the BYU team is to ramp up the power through design improvements.

The study reported experiments that yielded a 29 percent conversion rate, or the transfer of 7 of the 24 available electrons per glucose molecule.

“We showed you can get a lot more out of glucose than other people have done before,” said Dean Wheeler, lead faculty author of the paper and a chemical engineering professor in BYU’s Fulton College of Engineering and Technology. “Now we’re trying to get the power density higher so the technology will be more commercially attractive.”

Since they wrote the paper, the researchers’ prototype has achieved a doubling of power performance. And they’re pursuing an even stronger sugar high.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Brigham Young University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Brigham Young University. "Sugar + Weed Killer = Potential Clean Energy Source." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 September 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090929132503.htm>.
Brigham Young University. (2009, September 30). Sugar + Weed Killer = Potential Clean Energy Source. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090929132503.htm
Brigham Young University. "Sugar + Weed Killer = Potential Clean Energy Source." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090929132503.htm (accessed April 24, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

UN Joint Mission Starts Removing Landmines in Cyprus

UN Joint Mission Starts Removing Landmines in Cyprus

AFP (Apr. 23, 2014) The UN mission in Cyprus (UNFICYP) led a mine clearance demonstration on Wednesday in the UN-controlled buffer zone where demining operations are being conducted near the Cypriot village of Mammari. Duration: 01:00 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Air Force: $4.2B Saved from Grounding A-10s

Air Force: $4.2B Saved from Grounding A-10s

AP (Apr. 23, 2014) Speaking about the future of the United States Air Force, Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh says the choice to divest the A-10 fleet was logical and least impactful. (April 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jets Fuel Jump in Boeing's Revenue

Jets Fuel Jump in Boeing's Revenue

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 23, 2014) A sharp rise in revenue for commercial jets offset a decline in Boeing's defense business. And a big increase in deliveries lifted profitability. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is North Korea Planning Nuclear Test #4?

Is North Korea Planning Nuclear Test #4?

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) South Korean officials say North Korea is preparing to conduct another nuclear test, but is Pyongyang just bluffing this time? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins