Published on June 19th, 2013 | by Jo Borrás
New Catalyst Turns Seawater in Hydrogen for Fuel Cells
A team of researchers at Australia’s University of Wollongong have found a way to separate the “H” from sea water’s H2O, producing a virtually unlimited source of the hydrogen necessary to power the hydrogen fuel cells that many people believe will, ultimately, replace petroleum gasoline.
These scientists, led by Associate Professor Jun Chen and Professor Gerry Swiegers, have produced an artificial chlorophyll on a conductive plastic film that acts as a catalyst to begin splitting water. They claim that their catalyst is so efficient, in fact, that they can produce enough hydrogen to power an average-sized home and an electric car from a mere 5 liters of sea water.
The system we designed, including the materials, gives us the opportunity to design various devices and applications using sea water as a water-splitting source. The flexible nature of the material also provides the possibility to build portable hydrogen-producing devices.
Of course, conventional sea-water catalysts have a byproduct that is, arguably, even worse than the harmful particulate emissions from petroleum products: chlorine!
These Australians, though, are claiming that their system, which uses an artificial chlorophyll on a conductive plastic film, has that problem neatly handled.
Sounds good to me. Let’s hope this hydrogen-farming technology is as much of a breakthrough as it sounds!
Source | Photos: Inhabitat.