Sunflowers: the new fuel source?

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The hunt for alternative fuel sources is reaching a fever pitch in an attempt to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil and fossil fuels. And hydrogen has received special attention that reaches all the way to the Oval Office.

Now, researchers in Great Britain say they have developed a way to extract hydrogen from sunflower oil, which is reputed to be 90 percent pure. Apparently, they have cultivated a “hydrogen generator” that removes hydrogen from the oil using air and two catalysts — one is nickel-based and the other is carbon-based.

The process shows promise, but many questions remain. The process still produces the greenhouse gases of carbon dioxide and methane. It is not advisable to convert your alfalfa or corn fields to sunflowers just yet.



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