IIT Madras Scientists Create ‘Space Fuel’ (Download PDF)


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The IIT Madras scientists have created a particular kind of fuel, called as the ‘space fuel’ by simulating interstellar conditions in the lab. This method of fuel creation may be used to convert atmospheric CO2 into a next-generation energy source on Earth.

Image of Creation of space fuel

Image of Creation of Space Fuel

Image of Creation of space fuel

  • Details on the research and its findings have been mentioned in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

  • Creation of space fuel could now help in curbing greenhouse gases along with also providing a new, sustainable source of energy.

Details About the Space Fuel

  • Molecules like methane and ammonia in space could exist in a completely different form than what is known to us.

  • Clathrate hydrates are molecules like methane, carbon dioxide, etc, trapped in well-defined cages of water molecules forming crystalline solids.

  • These molecules are formed at high pressures and low temperatures at particular places such as the ocean floor which lays hundreds of metres below the sea level.

  • They are also found in glaciers such as in Siberia.

  • Hence, the creation of these molecules is very a difficult and complicated task along with also being very quiet tough. In that case, the feat achieved by the scientists in IIT Madras is out-of-the-box and praiseworthy.

  • For creating these molecules, the IIT Madras researchers formed hydrates in a vacuum which is one thousand billion times below the atmospheric pressure called ultra-high vacuum (UHV) at a temperature close to minus 263 degree Celsius. As such conditions prevail in deep space; the atmosphere for the creation of these molecules too will have to be similar.

- Published/Last Modified on: April 9, 2019


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