The car of the future could be powered by small ‘ping-pong balls’ filled with hydrogen gas, if an experimental project in Sweden takes off commercially and reduces the world’s dependence on fossil fuel transport.

According to a report by Fuel Cell Today, this is the vision of a green future from astronautics professor and inventor Lars Stenmark, of the department of materials science, Angstrom Laboratory, at Uppsala University.

By storing hydrogen gas in small balls, Stenmark hopes to overcome the risk of fires and explosions.

Explaining the merits of the proposed technology under development, Stenmark said, $quot;By storing the gas in round, spherical form, it can withstand twice the pressure that a cylindrical form can. If the car crashes and the tank breaks, the hydrogen-filled balls would just spread out and roll away, and the gas from any broken balls would simply seep out and disappear into the atmosphere without causing harm.”

This is reportedly just one of many cutting edge research projects undertaken by faculty at Uppsala, focusing on energy research and new materials.

Maria Stromme, Professor of Nanotechnology and an engineering physicist, has found a way to extract cellulose from green algae bloom — a poison that is polluting coastlines and killing fish — and convert it into lithium-free batteries. Meanwhile, a 15-member team led by Kristina Edstrom and Josh Thomas, of the department of materials chemistry, is experimenting with new materials to create inexpensive, ‘green’ batteries with a high storage capacity.

Such breakthroughs could eventually signify a major step towards enabling the manufacture of cheap, environmentally friendly hybrid cars, as well as the possibility of cleaner, more efficient heating, creating the potential for larger format batteries that can power vehicles.