Science Podcasts

Naked Scientists episode

Sat, 8th Oct 2011

Outpacing Petrol - Biofuels and Hydrogen

Antique diesel pump located at Roscheider Hof Open Air Museum, Konz, Germany. (c) Stefan Kühn

This week, we're investigating alternatives to petrol.  We'll board a biofuel powered bus to meet the plant scientists who are using algae to make biodiesel.  We’ll find out how to turn household waste into hydrogen, and meet the brains behind Bristol’s first hydrogen powered passenger boat!  Plus, the brain basis of boundless optimism, why a bacteria-busting chemical keeps injured arteries open, and a run down of this year's Nobel prizes!

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In this edition of Naked Scientists

Full Transcript

  • 08:58 - The Nobel Prizes 2011

    This week has seen the announcment of the 2011 Nobel Prizes, so we invited BBC science correspondent Victoria Gill to walk us through who got what, where and when, and why...

  • 13:52 - Antimicrobial chemical keeps injured arteries open

    Researchers have discovered a chemical signal secreted by blood cells that prevents arteries from furring up again following injury or angioplasty.

  • 28:27 - Biodiesel based on algae

    Could we soon be driving to work powered by algae? Emma Stoye discusses, with three Cambridge scientists, the potential for algae oils to be used as a fuel source.

  • 35:25 - Turning Rubbish into Hydrogen

    In the UK, we throw away over 7 million tonnes of food every year, the majority of which goes to landfill. But thanks to recent advances in microbial biotechnology, this waste could become a valuable future source of energy in the form of biohydrogen...

  • 43:02 - Hydrogen on the Waves - Britains 1st Fuel Cell Powered Passenger Boat

    Hydrogen is a clean fuel, that can be produced in a number of clean ways. But how do we actually make use of it? Ben Valsler meets the brains behind Britain's first fuel cell powered passenger boat...

  • 51:11 - How does biohydrogen compare with other gas options?

    Hydrogen is clean and all but I like the idea of using natural gas. It seems oil can be made from algae and bacteria eating the algae can make methane. Then there are all the natural gas deposits caught between bedrock deposits, frozen methane hydrates on the ocean floor, and nat...

  • 52:47 - How do we develop a hydrogen distribution network?

    A hydrogen car? Hell, yes! What's stopping me? The fact that there is one filling station - in Swindon - and the fact you cannot find any for sale...

  • 53:56 - Is a hydrogen-based infrastructure expensive?

    I am curious to know how the cost of production of these hydrogen cars will be reduced to a degree where it can compete with electric cars, the production of which is approximately 10 times cheaper...How will the automobile manufacturers be convinced to produce these cars in line...

  • 57:52 - How safe is hydrogen as a fuel?

    I drive a car and I'm perfectly happy with the idea of driving around with a big tank of petrol underneath me, but for some reason, I'm slightly nervous about the idea of driving around with a big tank of hydrogen. For some reason, I just feel it could just explode! How safe ar...

  • 59:24 - Can we use human excrement for fuel?

    Hi Dr. Smith, I've always wondered if human waste can, or is being used, to produce electricity.  I know that rotting cow manure and garbage can produce energy, but I've never heard of human waste used for this purpose. Seems like a great source of energy, and the infrastructu...



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