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Zero emissions fuel that uses nanotechnology scoops Shell Springboard Award

Greenwise Staff
25th February 2011
A fuel that uses nanotechnology to safely store hydrogen in tiny microbeads has been crowned national winner of the Shell Springboard Awards.
Oxfordshire-based small business Cella Energy has developed the potentially revolutionary green technology that brings the prospect of hydrogen fuel to the pump at less than half the price of today’s petrol prices. The company was rewarded for its efforts this week, scooping the top award at the 2011 Shell Springboard Awards, which provide funding to low carbon innovation projects. Cella won £40,000 for developing the nanotechnology that allows hydrogen to be stored in a cheap, practical way.

Hydrogen is the holy grail of green transport because it emits zero emissions, but as a fuel technology it is currently too expensive for the mass market and the chemical is difficult to store. Cella Energy’s invention uses nanotechnology to store hydrogen safely in microbeads smaller than a grain of sand. The microbeads release hydrogen when heated, producing energy which can fuel cars, lorries, ships or planes. 

Versatile and safe 
Cella Energy says the microbeads can be safely transported to petrol stations and can be added to fuel and used in existing engines as an additive to conventional fuels or on their own to make zero carbon hydrogen gas for vehicles. It has also calculated that it could cost as little as 19p pence per litre before Government tax was added. At the moment a litre of petrol costs 48 pence before fuel duty and VAT at the petrol pump.

"Being named the overall Shell Springboard winner for 2011 is a great boost for Cella Energy which will give us real credibility in the eyes of customers and potential investors alike," said Stephen Voller from Cella Energy. "The £40,000 will enable us to scale up our technology to an industrial scale in order to help us realise our ambition of providing a safe, zero carbon hydrogen fuel which can be used to power the transport industry and dramatically cut carbon emissions."

Shell Springboard runner up
Vphase plc was named runner up in the 2011 Springboard Awards, which to date have given out £1.6 million to 43 small to medium-sized enterprises in the UK. Vphase has developed a product that lowers and regulates household voltage use, allowing customers to immediately cut their energy costs without changing their energy supplier or lifestyle.

The three other finalists in the Shell Springboard Awards were Ashwoods Automotive Ltd, which has designed a product that regulates and lengthens the lifespan of electric car batteries; Cambridge Carbon Capture, which has created technology that captures and stores CO2 from the atmosphere; and Naked Energy Ltd, which has developed a solar panel which is able to generate both electricity and hot water in cool climates.

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Zero emissions fuel that uses nanotechnology scoops Shell Springboard Award
Cella Energy's hydrogen fuel can be stored safely and cheaply using nanotechnology
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