“Instant Steam’s” First Application? GumBusting.

Scientists have discovered a method for making instant steam without electricity. Instant steam could have many applications, including killing superbugs such as staph infections, providing mobile power generation and powering rockets and cars. But it's first application? Cleaning gum from sidewalks.

Oxford Catalysts, the company that invented instant steam, explains that the product's power lies in its ability to generate steam on demand, in any location, in about 1-2 seconds.

The dry steam produced by instant steam is generated by the reaction of methanol and hydrogen peroxide. The reaction is "exothermic," meaning it releases energy in the form of heat. The reaction chamber, which is the size of a sugar cube, can produce steam at a rate of 70 liters/minute at temperatures of up to 800 degrees C (1500 degrees F) at room temperature and pressure.

Due to the cost of producing instant steam, the researchers say that it wouldn't be feasible to use for routine industrial steam generation. However, the applications they name--car and rocket fuel, mobile power generation, and superbug killing--could make instant steam valuable nonetheless.

One of Oxford Catalysts' first patents using this technology is a GumBuster backpack for removing chewing gum from pavements. The technology currently requires a small amount of electricity to generate the steam, however, but it could be carried on trolleys and vans in cities.

While GumBusting is cool, I'll be keeping an eye out for the future applications of instant steam...

Lisa Zyga
Science Blogger

via: Innovations Report