Scientists have created a technology for the production of hydrogen fuel from biomass. The process, in which the electrons generated during the decomposition of wood waste are used, will reduce the cost and increase the efficiency of hydrogen fuel production. A study of scientists from the School of Energy and Chemical Engineering is published on the university’s website.
Hydrogen is an element that is almost everywhere; it is especially abundant in water molecules, which consist of one oxygen atom and two hydrogen atoms. However, almost everywhere in the Universe it is found only in the form of compounds, and in order to obtain this substance in its pure form, it must be isolated.
When burning a kilogram of hydrogen, almost four times more energy is produced than when burning a kilogram of coal – the result of the process is the release of carbon dioxide.
The new hydrogen fuel technology proposed by the researchers uses lignin as an electron source. This improves the overall efficiency of the oxygen evolution reaction (OER). The process is carried out at low temperatures – during it, electrons move from lignin along the wire to the electrode, where the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) takes place.
“With this new system, we can produce hydrogen with less energy than conventional electrolysis of water, since there is no need for oxygen reactions that require high-energy catalysts and catalysts made of precious metals. Conventional methods require more than 1.5 V, but the new system is capable of producing hydrogen with a much lower potential (0.95 V)”.
Jungki Ryu, lead author of the study