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Nanowire network may provide hydrogen for fuel via nanotechnology

Nanotech researchers continue to find novel nanostructures with promising applications. A web of single-crystalline titanium disilicide absorbs light efficiently and may be a useful catalyst to split water to furnish hydrogen for fuel. From Boston College, via AAAS EurekAlert “Scientists grow ‘nanonets’ able to snare added energy transfer“:

Using two abundant and relatively inexpensive elements, Boston College chemists have produced nanonets, a flexible webbing of nano-scale wires that multiplies surface area critical to improving the performance of the wires in electronics and energy applications.

Researchers grew wires from titanium and silicon into a two-dimensional network of branches that resemble flat, rectangular netting, Assistant Professor of Chemistry Professor Dunwei Wang and his team report in the international edition of the German Chemical Society journal Angewandte Chemie [citation].

By creating nanonets, the team conquered a longstanding engineering challenge in nanotechnology: creating a material that is extremely thin yet maintains its complexity, a structural design large or long enough to efficiently transfer an electrical charge.

“We wanted to create a nano structure unlike any other with a relatively large surface area,” said Wang. “The goal was to increase surface area and maintain the structural integrity of the material without sacrificing surface area and thereby improving performance.”

—Jim

5 Responses to “Nanowire network may provide hydrogen for fuel via nanotechnology”

  1. tonynoboloney Says:

    I am the mayor of a small Michigan community so I’m don’t really get this tech stuff. Recently we attempted to “grow bacteria” on a mesh netting to enable “bugs” (actually microbes) to help in the processing of sewage, (imagine cheesecloth spread out over a pond). Although this process was NOT successful, in theory it would have worked out had we been able to create the enviroment for the microbes to grow. As it turns out my community will be investing in 2 new lagoons at a cost of 2.5 million dollars. Would this NANONET webbing have any application in this process? Is nano netting something solid, like a fish net only smaller?

    Perhaps I do not understand this technology, but I would be grateful to get a response. Thank you. Tony Loewe, village president, Port Austin Michigan. 48467, 989-550-1045

  2. Jim Lewis Says:

    The type of nanonet described in this post would not likely be helpful for your application. You would probably need something cheap enough and sturdy enough to cover a large area, and which provides a chemical environment favorable to the types of microbes you want to encourage. There might be some nanostructured material that fits your needs, but the typical size of bacteria is much larger–a few micrometers instead of a few nanometers. Perhaps your best bet is to ask microbiologists, especially if you can find any working in sewage processing. I’m sorry I could not be more helpful, but the field of nanostructured materials is very wide and covers various types of networks and scaffolds with very different properties. For example, some workers are developing nanostructured scaffolds designed to promote the growth of nerve cells in the hope of repairing damaged nerve cells. I would imagine your problem might be simpler, but you never know until someone does the research.

  3. SenatorMark4 Says:

    This is the kind of exciting breakout for which we’ve all been searching. The problem is that there are plenty of people working on technologies that might have applications in hydrogen fuel but there is no place where we can really compete with the chance of winning MONEY! This is the reason I am championing the Hydrogen Rodeo. With three events [H2 powered car race, electricity generation with hydrogen, and hydrogen generation] it will be run exactly like a jackpot rodeo. Twenty contestants in each event with a buck-out fee of $5,000 means that the winner can take home $100,000. Instead of pleading with government, we need to unleash the competitor in the American inventor. The rodeo season is coming up this Spring. GET READY!

  4. Susan Clearfield Says:

    At what rate does this Nanonet webbing produce Hydrogen? What is the pricetag? Would this new material be used inside a large-scale plant, or would this go inside the automobile itself?

    I could imagine filling my car’s tank with tapwater and driving 300 miles before refilling with a garden hose! And if my car wrecks, the contents of my “fuel” tank could put out the fire!

  5. tonynoboloney Says:

    Jim Lewis, Thank you so much for your response. Although it appears nanonet technology will not suit our application, still I am intrigued and look forward to following this new & exciting process. Again Thanks, Tony Loewe

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