Metal Powders: Fuel of the Future?

In a recent study conducted by researchers at McGill University in Canada, an interesting theory was proposed about metal powder as an alternative to fossil fuels when powering vehicles. That’s right: metal replacing oil!

But is there any credence to this idea or is it just a theory that’ll never translate into reality? To decipher this question, we have to take a close look into the study and examine on a boarder scope the effects of metal heat treating in Gastonia, NC on certain volatile metals.

The concept

Metal powder is actually used quite often when it comes to combustion: fireworks and rocket propellants being two perfect examples. But can these properties be translated to automobiles? Perhaps—the opportunity is there. What’s holding us back, however, is the lack of testing in regards to metal flames and the ensuing emissions.

In any energy-generating chemical process, there are always byproducts of the reaction. For modern fossil fuels, the equation looks like this: 2H2(g) + O2(g) → 2H2O(g), with CO2 emissions being the byproduct. But we have no idea what the equation for something involving metal powders looks like.

Will it come to fruition?

Despite a lack of data when it comes to testing the viability of metal powder as a fuel source through metal heat treating in Gastonia, NC, the potential for experimentation remains open. Controlled studies must be performed, prototypes must be designed and effects measured. It’ll be some time before to see metal powder as a fuel source, but it’s amazing to think that the potential is there!

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