London, April 2 Hydrogen fuel could become viable as an eco-friendly alternative to petrol, thanks to a new process that allows it to be stored cheaply and practicably.
The technology utilises materials that soak up hydrogen like a sponge, and then encapsulates them in tiny plastic beads so small they behave like a liquid.
The process, based on a new way of producing nano-fibres from hydrides, is being developed by Cella Energy, a spin-off from UK Rutherford Appleton Lab.
The technique allows hydrogen to be released at a much faster rate and at lower temperatures than before, researchers said, the Daily Mail reports.
"What we've been doing is taking these materials and encasing them in plastic and making them into a very fine powder and that improves their properties," said Stephen Bennington, Cella Energy Chief Scientific Officer.
"It also means you can pump it like a fluid and it's safe. It is not gong to easily burst into flames," he said.
Hydrogen produces only water when it is burned and is considered an ideal solution to cutting carbon emissions from petrol or diesel vehicles, which are estimated to cause 25 percent of all carbon release.
But until now, attempts to store hydrogen have not been consumer-friendly so this has not been a viable option. Cella Energy Ltd say their technology would allow people to use the carbon-free fuel with their existing car after a few modifications.