Hydrogen Power -Towards a Pollution Free Future?

Hydrogen is a pollution-free energy source when it’s extracted from water using sunlight instead of fossil fuels. The use of hydrogen has the potential to provide solutions to many of the energy needs of human societies and providing these in a way that has a lower environmental impact than conventional technology.

In this Digital Journal science feature, three recent research innovations are considered.

Making green hydrogen

By adopting a new technology, a science group have succeeded in producing green hydrogen in large quantities with a purity close to 100 percent. This has been achieved by decomposing liquid ammonia into electricity. This method consumes less energy, requiring three times less power than hydrogen made produced by the more conventional method by the electrolysis of water.

The reason for this research focus is because ammonia is an effective hydrogen carrier as a result of its high energy density. For the electrolysis of ammonia to produce hydrogen, this only requires an external voltage of 0.06 V.

This method appears in the Journal of Materials Chemistry in a paper titled “A rigorous electrochemical ammonia electrolysis protocol with in operando quantitative analysis.”

Pushing hydrogen powered vehicles forwards

As well as electric cars (and the questions over their range and material supply), another green alternative is vehicles powered using hydrogen technology. One limitation, to date, has been with the size of the fuel systems. A new study from Lancaster University provides a solution.

A new material fashioned from manganese hydride can be deployed used to make molecular sieves within fuel tanks. These can be used to store hydrogen and work alongside fuel cells in a hydrogen powered ‘system’.

The hope is that such material can advance the design of tanks and to manufacture tanks that far smaller, cheaper, more convenient and energy dense than existing hydrogen fuel technologies.

Detail of the solution appears in the journal Energy & Environmental Science, with the research headed “A manganese hydride molecular sieve for practical hydrogen storage under ambient conditions.”

Cleaning up wastewater

Hydrogen power presents great potential for clearing up wastewater; however  current strategies for ‘splitting’ or breaking apart water molecules using catalysts and light require chemical additives to expedite the process.

Because of the risk around the chemicals required, researchers have developed a titanium-based catalyst that destroys medications and other compounds already present in wastewater to generate hydrogen fuel while getting rid of a contaminant at the same time.

Source: Digital Journal.

 

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