Graham R. L. Cowan


Graham R.L. Cowan
is a long-time enthusiast for nonpolluting personal vehicle power through nuclear production of motor fuel. When hydrogen cars proved they could go 300 km and be re-fueled by an existing hydrogen infrastructure, he was persuaded they were just around the corner. The range needed to double to match what drivers were used to, but this was obviously doable.

Twenty years on, it had not been done. Around the corner they remained. Wondering what the holdup was, and noticing that the lightest fuel needed very heavy tanks to reduce the likelihood of devastating fuel-air explosions (which are inevitable anyway) he wondered if there wasn't some better clean fuel. To ask this question, while equipped with background chemical knowledge that instantly offers candidate fuels that are not just safer, but safe, is to learn two things in one moment: hydrogen cars will not be arriving, and gasoline's days are numbered.

He wrote "Boron: A Better Energy Carrier than Hydrogen?" in 2001, published "How Fire Can Be Tamed" in the IJNHPA in 2008 and since then has continued to refine his vision of how cars will be fueled when several billion people are daily drivers.

Graham R. L. Cowan, Ontario, Canada

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Cars could be run cleanly on safe, cheap boron with pure oxygen.

Paper for the 11th CHC

Cobourg, Ontario, Canada,

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If far-flung energy users each possess several tens of kilograms of the somewhat costly, somewhat toxic substance diboron trioxide (also known as boria), and occasionally send some to a central power station that can reduce it to its elements, that station can, by returning only the boron, transmit back one continuous kilowatt of power for each 5.1 kilograms per day of boria received.

That rate of active material shipment is much larger than in the analogous hydrogen-economy power coupling, even though a water-splitting power station needs not 5.1 but 6.8 kilograms of water per kilowatt-day transmitted. The Earth's atmosphere is an enormous water vapour bank the station can borrow from and the users repay, and therefore the only shipping task is distributing the hydrogen. Its mass is 0.76 kilograms per kilowatt-day. Elemental boron is now produced at very high prices, 23 to 400 times more for a pound without oxygen than for a pound with, $360 to $6,400 per contained kilowatt-day. Its use as a potentially mass-market fuel has not been demonstrated.