Researchers used a diamond anvil device to squeeze together xenon and hydrogen, and create high pressures reaching 41,000 times the normal pressure at sea level. The hydrogen atoms formed a lattice structure embedded with loosely bonded xenon pairs, which eventually formed tightly bound xenon pairs under even greater pressures ranging up to 225,000 times the atmosphere at sea level.
The unusually stable solid may clue scientists in on a new method of storing hydrogen. Vehicles from automobiles to aerial drones could run on hydrogen fuel, but only if researchers can figure out how to store enough of the low-density gas within a small enough space to make it cost-effective.
Creating hydrogen from environmentally friendly resources has also proved a bit of a challenge, even though scientists have begun tinkering with lab-modified algae. But until the right technologies come into play for a functioning hydrogen economy, other energy sources must step up.
[via Science Daily]
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.