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Solving the natural gas tank puzzle.

One of the cleanest burning alternative fuels is natural gas. In light-duty vehicles, natural gas produces 90% less carbon monoxide, 60% less nitrogen oxides and between 30 and 40% less carbon dioxide than gasoline. Until now, the use of natural gas in vehicles has been limited by the fact that the fuel storage tanks necessary were very bulky and required high-pressure conditions. Researchers at the University of Missouri-Columbia and Midwest Research Institute have come up with a solution in which ground corncobs are baked and compressed into carbon briquettes. These briquettes contain "fractal pore spaces"--spaces created by repetition of similar patterns at different levels of magnification--that can store 180 times their own volume of natural gas without high pressure and that can be fit into smaller areas. The technology is currently being tested in a truck owned and operated by the Kansas City Office of Environmental Quality.

edited by Erin E. Dooley
COPYRIGHT 2007 National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
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Title Annotation:The Beat
Author:Dooley, Erin E.
Publication:Environmental Health Perspectives
Date:Jul 1, 2007
Words:153
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