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Chicken Feather Roundup

August 14, 2009

Chicken feathers could provide an efficient new way to store hydrogen fuel.


Science gets down. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Hydrogen gas has been touted as the clean fuel of the future, but storing it is a problem: a twenty-gallon tank of hydrogen gas would fuel a car for only one mile. And fuel tanks that concentrate the gas into a form that delivers high mileage cost tens of thousands of dollars. But now, researchers at the University of Delaware have developed a hydrogen fuel tank made with carbonized chicken feathers. The material has a high surface area that stores large amounts of the gas. And since the poultry industry produces billions of pounds of feathers each year, the researchers claim the fuel tanks could be made extremely cheaply.

In other chicken feather news, scientists at the University of Nevada have developed a new process to turn feathers into biodiesel. They estimate that they could produce 153 million gallons of diesel per year. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.