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A Breathtaking Look at Future Lawn Mowers

by Gabby Hyman, All About Lawns Columnist

Two engineers at Princeton University are developing a hydrogen-powered engine that will make mowing your lawn an activity as green as the color of the grass itself. Chemical engineering professor Jay Benziger and Princeton graduate Claire Woo are collaborating on the hydrogen fuel-cell engine. Since water and heat are the only by-products of firing the engine, you'll be able to mow your grass and protect the environment at the same time.

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The emissions currently produced by gas-powered lawn mowers are not regulated by as many EPA restrictions as car engines, making mowers large contributors of greenhouse gases. The new engines under development at Princeton will use a sealed, water reservoir, creating an estimated 100-percent fuel efficiency from the hydrogen-electric motor.

 

Mowing in the Millennium

Two additional Princeton graduate students have joined the project to work on water condensation issues, but Benziger claims that the team is capable of achieving "magnificent results." As designed, consumers would use the innovative lawn mowers just like conventional machines, using a throttle to increase engine power by burning more of the clean fuel.

 

Hydrogen fuel-cell engines have been under development for several years now for use in the automobile industry. In January 2008, Honda announced development of the FCX Clarity, a zero-emission, hydrogen fuel-cell car slated to go on the American market this summer.

 

Back in 2003, University of Massachusetts at Amherst scientists began working on a fuel cell that creates energy from living bacteria. The bacteria would gobble up sugars from lawn clippings and fallen leaves and, in turn, generate electricity from the by-products. The bacteria-powered electrodes would generate enough juice to replenish the battery for another run at the lawn the next time the mower was fired up.



About the Author
Gabby Hyman has created online strategies and written content for Fortune 500 companies including eToys, GoTo.com, Siebel Systems, Microsoft Encarta, Avaya, and Nissan UK.

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