Hydrogen Cars Could Soon Run on 'Dirty Biomass'

Apr 13, 2015 02:48 PM EDT | Matt Mercuro

Could discarded stalks, cobs and husks of corn be the source of the fuel of the car of the future?

According to a team of researchers at Virginia Tech, the discovery of a maize-based solution could point the way forward.

"Dirty biomass," such as the aforementioned corn parts, was used in a research project to develop a new type of alternative fuel for hydrogen-powered cars that will utilize fuel cells.

The method, which converts 100 percent of the sugars found in the corn into hydrogen without increasing CO2 emissions, is detailed in the university-driven study.

"This means we have demonstrated the most important step toward a hydrogen economy - producing distributed and affordable green hydrogen from local biomass resources," said Professor Percival Zhang, who works at Virginia Tech's Department of Biological Systems Engineering, according to the release.

It could be positive news for the upcoming wave of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles set to go on sale in the United States, such as the Toyota Mirai, which will rely entirely on hydrogen as a fuel source and emit only water.

And there's nothing corny about that.

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