Research team develops a new way to produce hydrogen fuel while cleaning the airMay 16, 2017
New device aims to generate hydrogen fuel from the air
Researchers from the University of Antwerp and the University of Lueven have developed a new way to clear air pollution while also generating hydrogen fuel. The research team has created a new device that leverages the process of heterogeneous photocatalysis. This process makes use of light and a special catalyst in order to produce a chemical reaction. Heterogeneous photocatalysis is often used to produce hydrogen from water, which produces no harmful emissions during the production process.
Device is designed clear air pollution
The device that the research team has developed makes use of a photoelectrochemical cell. This sell makes use of solar power to produce hydrogen fuel. The device is comprised of two chambers, which are separated by a membrane. The device is meant to purify air while also producing hydrogen. The hydrogen fuel can then be stored for later use in production of electrical power. Researchers note that these types of devices are typically used to produce hydrogen fuel from water. This device, however, is designed to pull hydrogen from the air.
Researchers continue to look for ways to make hydrogen fuel production more environmentally friendly
The device currently only exists as a proof-of-concept, but represents an important development nonetheless. Finding new ways to produce hydrogen fuel is becoming an increasingly vital endeavor. This is due to the fact that fuel cells are becoming more popular in many sectors. Currently, conventional hydrogen fuel production methods are heavily reliant on fossil-fuels. Thus, generating hydrogen also produces harmful emissions. If scaled up, the new device could help make hydrogen fuel production more environmentally friendly while also eliminating air pollution.
Fuel cells continue to gather popularity
Hydrogen fuel may become much more common in the coming years, especially in the transportation space, where fuel cells have become quite popular. As such, finding new, environmentally friendly ways to generate hydrogen fuel is becoming quite important. If hydrogen production remains heavily reliant on fossil-fuels, fuel cells may lose their appeal as renewable energy systems.
In the current context of ever-increasing global energy demand and serious climate and environmental issues associated with burning of fossil fuels, exploiting new low-carbon sources of energy is necessary for sustainable development of society. Harvesting solar energy, the most abundant and sustainable energetic resource available, appears as a viable solution. Solar energy can be captured and converted into electricity employing a solar cell. Alternatively, it can be converted to chemical energy stored within chemical bonds of highly energetic molecules, named solar fuels, via a photoelectrochemical process. Among possible solar fuels, hydrogen is an attractive candidate which possesses high energetic density per mass and produces only water as by-product when used as a fuel in the car