Scientists in biological systems engineering at Virginia Tech have succeed in using xylose, a sugar found in plants to produce large quantities of hydrogen in an environmentally friendly way.
Unlike current methods of making hydrogen gas, Associate Professor Percival Zhang’s process is done at low temperatures, uses no heavy metals and releases almost no green house gases. His team designed an enzyme cocktail for splitting of the hydrogen. The result is energy production at a rate of more than 100% efficiency; a level current methods do not reach.
Architects spend a fair amount of time putting pencils to paper and building small models of what they’d like to construct – but how do they know their designs will work in the real world, and what does it take to get something built. That’s what Virginia Tech hopes to teach in a whole new way. It’s called a Design-Build Laboratory, it’s gaining favor at schools around the country.