Clean hydrogen production technology

Clean Hydrogen Production Technology

Israeli researchers developed efficient, environmentally-friendly and safe hydrogen production technology, as reported bt the northern Israel Institute of Technology.

The new technology dramatically improves hydrogen production efficiency to 98.7 percent and significantly reduces CO2 emissions.

Hydrogen is primarily used by refineries, including ammonia and methanol production. In the future, it is expected to be also used as fuel for fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV), for storing energy from renewable energy sources, industrial and home heating.

Worldwide, about 65 million tons of hydrogen are produced each year worth about 130 billion U.S. dollars.

Most of the hydrogen being currently is derived from fossil fuel. Its production involves processes that emit carbon dioxide (CO2). This accelerates the global warming process.

The main alternative discovered so far is water electrolysis. In this method, two electrodes- anode and cathode, are placed in alkaline or acid-enriched water that increases conductivity.

In response to passing an electrical current between the electrodes, the water molecules (H2O) are broken down into their chemical elements. This is done such that hydrogen gas (H2) is produced near the cathode and oxygen (O2) is produced near the anode.

The energy efficiency of electrolysis is only about 75 percent, with high electricity consumption. It accounts for an inefficient method of hydrogen production.

Another challenge is that the membrane that divides the electrolysis cell limits the pressure in the electrolysis cell to 10-30 atmospheres. In contrast, in most applications, the pressure of hundreds of atmospheres is required. Besides, the presence of the membrane complicates the process, and it also requires expensive periodic maintenance.

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Clean Hydrogen Production Technology- Step Involved

This process is called E-TAC (electrochemical – thermally-activated chemical) water splitting. It is based on the cyclic operation.

The first stage includes the cathode where hydrogen is produced by reducing water molecules. At the anode, it’s chemical composition without producing oxygen.

Then, the cathode is passive while the anode produces oxygen by oxidizing water molecules. Next, the anode returns to its original state, and the cycle begins again.

The absence of the membrane simplifies the whole process. It also reduces costs and even prevents the risk of the volatile encounter between oxygen and hydrogen.

Also, the high costs of electricity and equipment are saved.

Author: Rahul Mishra

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