The site, Hydrogen and the Environment, focuses on the potential of hydrogen as an alternative fuel.
"Clean, reusable, renewable energy is becoming increasingly important and entering more and more into the public eye," said John Peters of Montana State University, one of the scientists featured on the site. "Hydrogen's a good prospect in terms of providing clean energy in some technologies that are already in place, especially in fuel cell technologies it works really well."
Hydrogen burns cleanly and is both renewable and plentiful. In fact, it's the most abundant element in the universe, Peters said. However, unlike oil or gas, hydrogen does not sit in reserves waiting to be tapped. It must be extracted from other sources, a process that burns fossil fuels. So, MSU researchers are studying micro-organisms that naturally produce hydrogen in hopes they might discover ways to mimic those processes for large-scale hydrogen production. Many of the microbes they study are found in the hot springs of Yellowstone National Park and other extreme environments.
The Web site features multimedia interactives, animations, videos and 360-degree panoramic photos of Yellowstone. Some are downloadable for use in classrooms and science centers. The site also includes profiles of researchers and students.
The site also links to "Energy's Future," a short film by MSU student Devon Riter that weaves a high school student's uncertainty about the future with the stories of three MSU students who are involved in cutting-edge renewable energy research.
The site also features a downloadable educator's guide with learning objectives and discussion questions to help teachers incorporate the Web site content into their classrooms. Teachers can get a free hard copy of both the guide and the DVD.
The materials were created by Montana's EPSCoR team based at MSU. EPSCoR stands for the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, and is part of the National Science Foundation.
Martha Peters, Montana NSF EPSCoR, (406) 994-7658, firstname.lastname@example.org