Researchers unlock new hydrogen fuel production processDecember 31, 2013
New process aims to make hydrogen production more viable
Hydrogen fuel production has been a relatively problematic issue for the fuel cell industry in recent years. While fuel cells have been gaining more attention and popularity, they are often considered inefficient because of the problems relating to hydrogen production. Current production methods are both expensive and inefficient as a significant amount of electrical power is required to power these methods. Scientists around the world have been focusing on discovering new hydrogen production methods in order to make hydrogen itself a more viable form of renewable energy.
Process focuses on the use of common materials
A team of researchers from France’s Universite Claude Bernard Lyon 1 traveled to the American Geophysical Union recently in order to share their findings concerning a new hydrogen production process they had discovered. The team has combined aluminum oxide, water, and olivine, a common mineral, in a high pressure device known as a diamond anvil cell. The device was able to heat these materials to 300 degrees Celsius while also applying a great deal of pressure. Through this process, the research team was able to produce hydrogen fuel.
Natural process enhanced through the use of aluminum
According to the research team, the aluminum oxide introduced to the process acts as an accelerating factor, allowing the process to produce hydrogen fuel at a more rapid rate than would be considered normal. The process itself is based on one found deep within the ocean. Olivine is found in abundance on the sea floor and tends to react with water and oxygen when under high pressures. Normally, this process is responsible for the creation of a mineral known as serpentine. The waste product of this process is typically hydrogen.
Better production methods may make hydrogen more attractive
The natural process tends to take a significant amount of time to accomplish itself, which is why the research team has focused on accelerating the process. By increasing the rate at which hydrogen fuel is produced, researchers believe that they can help make hydrogen a more attractive form of clean energy, thereby bringing more attention to fuel cell technology.