Researchers create hydrogen fuel from seawater

Posted: March 19, 2019 by oldbrew in Emissions, Energy, innovation, research
Tags: , ,

Desalination in California


As usual with these types of experiment, nothing can be assumed unless or until the tests of economic and industrial viability have been passed. They say the electrode ‘is able to go more than a thousand hours’ but that’s still only a few weeks. Storage and management of hydrogen is known to be tricky and expensive compared to most other fuels.

Stanford researchers have devised a way to generate hydrogen fuel using solar power, electrodes and saltwater from San Francisco Bay, reports Phys.org.

The findings, published March 18 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, demonstrate a new way of separating hydrogen and oxygen gas from seawater via electricity.

Existing water-splitting methods rely on highly purified water, which is a precious resource and costly to produce.

Theoretically, to power cities and cars, “you need so much hydrogen it is not conceivable to use purified water,” said Hongjie Dai, J.G. Jackson and C.J. Wood professor in chemistry at Stanford and co-senior author on the paper. “We barely have enough water for our current needs in California.”

Hydrogen is an appealing option for fuel because it doesn’t emit carbon dioxide, Dai said. Burning hydrogen produces only water and should ease worsening climate change problems.

Dai said his lab showed proof-of-concept with a demo, but the researchers will leave it up to manufacturers to scale and mass produce the design.

Tackling corrosion

As a concept, splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen with electricity—called electrolysis—is a simple and old idea: a power source connects to two electrodes placed in water. When power turns on, hydrogen gas bubbles out of the negative end—called the cathode—and breathable oxygen emerges at the positive end—the anode.

But negatively charged chloride in seawater salt can corrode the positive end, limiting the system’s lifespan. Dai and his team wanted to find a way to stop those seawater components from breaking down the submerged anodes.

The researchers discovered that if they coated the anode with layers that were rich in negative charges, the layers repelled chloride and slowed down the decay of the underlying metal.

Continued here.

Comments
  1. Gamecock says:

    Add it to the stack of press releases saying they got it all figured out.

    ‘Researchers create hydrogen fuel from seawater’

    They did no such thing. Hydrogen from electrolysis is not fuel; additional processing – pressurization – is required. This is not insignificant.

  2. oldbrew says:

    In effect hydrogen production is a way of storing energy from electricity. Not cheap though – and that’s on top of the expensive renewables used to produce that electricity.

  3. Bob Greene says:

    Interesting. Chlor-alkalai processes produce hydrogen as expected from the emf series. They found a way to form hydrogen without forming chlorine and keep the electrode together for a while. So now we can produce H2 using a solar cell that works part of the day and better if it isn’t cloudy. H2 from natural gas isn’t likely threatened for a while.

  4. pochas94 says:

    “Hydrogen is an appealing option for fuel because it doesn’t emit carbon dioxide, Dai said.”
    As usual we have an attempt to sell ex cathedra that CO2 is “problemo numero uno,” which is the big lie of the century.

  5. ivan says:

    So what! We appear to have a crop of anti CO2 research ‘finds’ being announced lately with the assumed purpose of bolstering the UN Church of Climatology Cult and its scare tactics to get the developed nations to cough up more money.

    It would help if the useful idiot scientists actually looked at something useful like cheep, portable molten salt reactors but big enough to power a typical village. That would be a life changer to Africa and other energy impoverished nations. Problem the UN Church of Climatology Cult is dead against lifting the poor out of their poverty, be it energy, food, industry and so on.

  6. Gamecock says:

    “It would help if the useful idiot scientists actually looked at something useful like cheep, portable molten salt reactors but big enough to power a typical village”

    Where is that working?

    Or did you just make it up?

  7. stpaulchuck says:

    “and should ease worsening climate change problems.”

    right off the bat you know it’s someone’s snake oil pitch.

  8. Nothing new here. An old chemistry book I have dated 1959 title “General Chemistry -A systematic Approach” by Harry H Sisler, Calvin A Vanderwerf and Arthur W Davidson states “Almost all industrial chlorine is obtained by electrolysis of aqueous sodium chloride solution. When the solution is electrolysed, chlorine gas is set free at the anode and hydrogen gas and hydroxide ion is set free at the anode. –A cell that makes such a separation possible is the Hooker S cell, which is illustrated in figure 22.4” (photo of a huge bank of something like 30 cells) Again wishful thinking from incompetent researchers who want more money. Hydrogen will never be viable as a fuel- look what happened to the Zepplin – a fireball.

  9. ivan says:

    Gamecock, are you saying that molten salt reactors should not be the subject of research? If so maybe you should tell the Chinese that and stop their work.

  10. CC Reader says:

    We have been doing this on submarines since the sixties; however, we used the oxygen. We used electricity which was produced by Nuclear power. Im sorry, windmills and solar will not hack it…

  11. Gamecock says:

    Ivan, you declare:

    “It would help if the useful idiot scientists actually looked at something useful like cheep, portable molten salt reactors but big enough to power a typical village.”

    When I asked where this was happening, implying you are full of it, you counter:

    “Gamecock, are you saying that molten salt reactors should not be the subject of research?”

    You declared it useful. It is not. “Subject of research” is not an answer to “where is this happening.”

    “If so maybe you should tell the Chinese that and stop their work.”

    A No True Scotsman fallacy.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s