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Posted Tue Sep 29 2009: from Brigham Young University, via EurekAlert:
Sugar plus weed killer equals potential clean energy source
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 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.... "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.
[Read more stories about: technological innovation, alternative energy, efficiency increase]

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'Doc Jim says:
Finally we have a use for all that corn syrup we've been producing!
I do hope that these little "batteries with a gas tank" work. Questions remain: what's the energy/CO2 required to make the herbicide, and to make the sucrose? What is offgassed by these cute li'l batteries? Are there disposal issues? ... But for now, I'll just feel hopeful!

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