Eindhoven University of Technology: Metals: fuels for the future

Hydrogen is increasingly being cited as the way to store renewable energy. But it doesn’t work always and everywhere. For example, hydrogen is not very compact, so you need a lot of it. Also, the element is highly flammable, which makes it less practical for storage in residential areas. “Fortunately, there is an alternative: iron powder,” says Philip de Goey, professor of combustion technology at TU/e.

De Goey was at the forefront of pioneering research into so-called metal fuels. Burning metal powder is CO2-free, safe, reusable and has a high energy density. And unlike sun and wind, these metals are always and everywhere.

That this really works, De Goey demonstrated last year at beer brewer Bavaria. Together with Team Solid, a TU/e student team, he developed a test setup in which iron was used to generate energy. This showed that metal does work as a fuel in heat- and energy-intensive industries. A world first!

In this episode of our Dutch-language science podcast Sound of Science, Philip de Goey and Sjirk Hatenboer, technical manager of Team Solid, talk about iron flames, steamboats that run on iron, and the importance of student teams and collaboration with industry.