08-31-18 | Education
Stanford Research on Alternative Fuels
One Step Closer Towards Replacing Gas

Stanford Research on Alternative Fuels

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, seven states have hydrogen-fueling stations, with California having the most at 36. Their website also states that as of 2016, there are 3 hydrogen cars publically available in select markets: the Toyota Mirai, the Hyndai ix35 FCEV and the Honda Clarity.


Stanford graduate student Xinjian Shi, and a team of scientists, has been hard at work studying the possibility of using hydrogen as a fuel source.

One aspect that makes hydrogen a great candidate as a fuel is that the by-product is pure water, which is, needless to say, harmless to the environment. However, the biggest challenge researchers are having is obtaining sufficient amounts of pure hydrogen in enough of a qauntitity to burn.

To circumnavigate this problem, Shi has developed a method of turning cheap, abundant metal sulfides (sulfide = a compound with an inorganic, negatively charged ion of sulfur) into powerful electrodes for hydrogen evolution.

Shi tells that there are other fuel alternatives that the university is looking into.

"In addition to hydrogen, we are also interested in hydrogen peroxide, which can also be used in fuel cells or other applications," Shi says.

Working under associate professor Xiaolin Zheng, from the department of mechanical engineering, Shi has already published one research paper in the Royal Society of Chemistry database titled, "Rapid flame doping of Co to WS2 for efficient hydrogen evolution", which is on the improvement of hydrogen evolution from electrochemical water splitting.

As for the hydrogen peroxide generation, there are teh successive publications titled "Understanding activity trends in electorchemical water oxidation to form hyrdorgen peroxide" and "Light-Driving BiVO4-C Fuel Cell with Simultaneous Production of H2O2" in the Nature and Wiley publication groups, to study the slective production of H2O2 from water oxidation using various metal oxides as catalysts.

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