Colleges Involved in Research
Researchers in the College of Agricultural Sciences are utilizing hydrogen-producing bacteria found in soil, wastewater, and other organic matter to feed off these biofuels to generate useful amounts of hydrogen gas.
Involving members from Energy & Geo-Environmental Engineering and Materials Science & Engineering, researchers in this college are concentrating on PEM Fuel Cells, Solid Oxide Fuel Cells, and hydrocarbon utilization, as well as numerous other projects.
The transition to a hydrogen based economy is beginning with the commercial production of hydrogen-based fuel cells. Fuel cells are being produced to power buses, homes, and businesses in the US and in Europe. Several automobile manufacturers are developing automobiles that can convert various mixtures of carbon-based fuels to hydrogen, and oil-based companies have begun to spin off hydrogen-production ventures. The European Union recently announced a new $2 billion dollar program in hydrogen technologies. Some believe that the US currently lags behind Europe in interest, application, and research on alternative energy methods such as fuel cells. That is certainly not true at Penn State University.
Developing and optimizing fuel cells for transportation use (automobiles and undersea transport) and for bioenergy production using waste materials (microbial fuel cells), as well as hydrogen production, are the primary activities of researchers in the College of Engineering.
Researchers in this area are developing systems to generate hydrogen through new types of solar and bio-energy, and developing materials and scientific techniques to enhance the storage and utilization of hydrogen.