The Race is On for Green Scalable Hydrogen

Photo credit: Alex Perez

Photo credit: Alex Perez

Hydrogen has huge potential as a fuel.  Not only in cars but in endless industrial uses such as the generation of fertilizers or the synthesis of hydrogen compounds.

But  producing hydrogen is so energy intensive that it seemed pointless to try and harvest it.  However,  not a day goes by when there isn’t an article describing a new breakthrough in attempts to produce  hydrogen through any sustainable emission free process that’s economical and scalable .  Of course using energy produced by alternative fuels is possible but it’s a bit clunky as one transfers energy from the sun to a power generator and then using that energy to create the hydrogen.  A much more elegant solution would be to  use sunlight directly to separate the hydrogen as plants do with photosynthesis.  But to do this has been difficult.  But each incremental breakthrough is a step closer to this holy grail of scalable green hydrogen.

Researchers at the Photovoltaic and Optoelectronic Devices Group at the Universitat Jaume I in Spain have developed an organic device which reduces water into hydrogen using only sunlight.

Organic photovoltaic devices corrode in water and damage very easily. ‪”Our strategy has been to place a physical barrier between the photovoltaic component and the catalyst that makes the hydrogen generation reaction. In order to achieve this, we have deposited compact layers with nanometric titanium oxide material that not only acts as a barrier between the water and the photovoltaic part, but also connects electrically the photovoltaic part and the platinum catalyst. ‪Using this strategy, we can greatly increase stability while maintaining the performance of these devices,” said the researcher Antonio Guerrero.

Read more at a Physorg

 



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