Cheaper cars and aeroplanes running on hydrogen-powered fuel cells could be closer to reality following a breakthrough in attempts to store the gas effectively and safely.
Hydrogen can be a very clean energy source since it burns to produce only water as a by-product. Energy from hydrogen can be harnessed by burning the gas or combining it with oxygen in a fuel cell to produce electricity.
But current methods to store hydrogen are expensive and not very safe.
At Glasgow University, researchers are now exploring nanotechnology as a means to store hydrogen in solid state.
They are working on modifying a hydrogen storage tank to make it more stable, durable, as well as efficient.
If the project is successful, the scientists will try and use the new fuel cell to fly an unmanned aircraft.
Duncan Gregory, professor of inorganic materials in the School of Chemistry at the University of Glasgow, who is working on the project, said: "Finding a viable means of storing hydrogen in the solid state would pave the way for the industrial-scale use of hydrogen as a clean alternative to hydrocarbon-based fuels in aeroplanes."
The project is part-funded by the Materials Knowledge Transfer Network - part of the UK Technology Strategy Board - and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).
Copyright © Press Association 2011