Corn farmers must be getting a real kick out of all of the attention that’s being paid to their produce by vehicle manufacturers and researchers nowadays. In addition to being used as a feedstock for ethanol, researchers at the University of Missouri-Columbia (MU; www.missouri.edu) and the Midwest Research Institute (www.mriresearch.org) are using corn cobs as the basis for a natural gas storage medium that can be used in compact storage tanks for automotive use. Researchers at MU determined that fractal pore spaces—i.e., repeated, similar patterns of spaces at various size scales)—are gl pores. The briquettes are then pood for storing natural gas. So what they’ve done is to transform corncobs into briquettes that have these fractaut inside a low-pressure tank, and the natural gas is added. They’re testing the performance of the tank in a pickup truck owned by the Kansas City Office of Environmental Quality. Among the parameters being checked are range, pressure, temperature, and longevity. It is hoped that this would permit smaller tanks for vehicles than the high-pressure tanks presently being used.