Hydrogen fuel obtained from seawater
Splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen presents an alternative to fossil fuels, but water is a precious resource. A team from Stanford University has developed a way to harness seawater, in contrast to the methods that have existed to date, which relied on the water being very pure.
Hydrogen fuel is one of the big bets for obtaining energy in the future, but until now, the development of the technology needed to make this fuel a reality had one major drawback: as much hydrogen was needed as there is fresh water in the world just to cover the energy needs of cities and car transport. Nevertheless, everything seems to have improved thanks to the findings of a team of researchers from Stanford University, who have devised a way to generate hydrogen fuel using solar energy, electrodes and salt water.
The findings, collected in the article Solar-driven, highly sustained splitting of seawater into hydrogen and oxygen fuels recently published in the proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States, have led to a new system for separating hydrogen and oxygen from seawater through electricity. The difference compared to the existing water separation methods to date, is that these depended on the water being very pure, which is very expensive to produce.
Burning hydrogen produces only water as waste
"Hydrogen is an attractive option for use as a fuel because it does not emit carbon dioxide," says Hongjie Dai, a chemist and physicist at Stanford University. The burning of hydrogen produces only water as waste which should help with the problem of carbon dioxide emissions regarding climate change. Dai himself has shown how his device works in the laboratory, but has stated that he will hand over the design to manufacturers of this fuel on a larger scale so that they can mass-produce it.