Guwahati: The IIT Madras scientists claim that they have created a particular kind of fuel, called as the 'space fuel'. As claimed by the scientists, they created this new 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. With this new achievement, the IIT Madras scientists have now achieved another new feat which is pretty commendable.
Details on the research and its findings have been mentioned in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The best part of this research is that the creation of space fuel could now help in curbing greenhouse gases along with also providing a new, sustainable source of energy.
Thalappil Pradeep of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras, stated, "What we have found is that 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 quite 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.