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Corn Could Be the Answer to Inexpensive Hydrogen Fuel

The use of processed sugars has been common in the production of hydrogen fuel, however, the high cost of using highly processed sugars has deterred investment in the technology. A team of scientists at Virginia Polytechnic Institute has developed an inexpensive, quick, alternative method of sourcing hydrogen from corn husks and stalks.

The process developed by the Virginia team is based on previous research focused on xylose, a type of sugar derived from plants, that would cut the costs associated with production.

As countries look toward alternatives to fossil fuels, interest has been evident in fuel cells, however, until hydrogen fuel can be produced on a commercial scale, cheaply and quickly, the technology will not receive much support.

The team notes that their method of hydrogen fuel production is not only less expensive than traditional methods, it is quicker and can be accomplished in a smaller space, as well.

In order to bring their technology to market, the team has created a new startup called Cell-Free Bioinnovations, which is aiming for commercialization of its new corn-based hydrogen fuel technology and methodology. The team believes that having efficient, low-cost ways of producing hydrogen will propel fuel cells toward becoming a mainstream source of energy.

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