Researchers Can Now Extract Hydrogen Directly From Seawater Without The Need For Filtering. This week, researchers from the University of Adelaide revealed that they have created clean hydrogen fuel from saltwater without first subjecting the water to any pretreatment.
As the world (ideally) continues to transition away from fossil fuels, one may anticipate an increase in demand for hydrogen fuel, which is a clean energy source that only creates water when it is burned. This need is likely to rise in the future years. The findings have the potential to one day lead to the production of green energy at lower costs in coastal areas.
“We have split natural seawater into oxygen and hydrogen with nearly 100 percent efficiency,” said Professor Shizhang Qiao, the team’s co-lead researcher. “To produce green hydrogen by electrolysis, using a non-precious and cheap catalyst in a commercial electrolyser,” he continued, “we split natural seawater into oxygen and hydrogen.”
Before electrolysis can separate seawater into its component parts of hydrogen and oxygen, the water normally needs to be cleaned. The group claims that its findings, which were achieved by using cobalt oxide with chromium oxide on its surface as the catalyst, had a performance that was comparable to that of a conventional method that involves applying platinum and iridium catalysts to water that has been highly purified and deionized.
When compared to freshwater, saltwater is a plentiful resource; therefore, having the ability to extract hydrogen fuel from saltwater without first subjecting it to any sort of pretreatment could result in cost savings. However, even if it were possible to scale it up, it would probably only be useful for coastal areas that had access to a large quantity of seawater; it would not be very useful in places like Iowa or Kansas.
The next step for the group is to scale the system by installing a more powerful electrolyzer. After that, the researchers expect to eventually apply the discoveries to commercial hydrogen generation for fuel cells and ammonia synthesis in the future, despite the fact that the process is still in its early stages.
In a nutshell. co-leader summed up the findings of the research by saying, “Our study gives a way to directly utilise saltwater without pre-treatment systems and alkali addition, which displays similar performance as that of existing metal-based mature pure water electrolyser.”
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