A group of researchers from the Technion Faculty of Materials Science and Engineering has introduced a groundbreaking technology for producing green hydrogen using renewable energy. Published in Nature Materials, this new technology presents significant advantages over other processes for producing green hydrogen, potentially reducing costs and accelerating the adoption of green hydrogen as a clean alternative to fossil fuels.
Green hydrogen is a clean fuel that, when used, produces water and does not emit carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. However, the most common method for producing hydrogen involves using natural gas or coal, resulting in significant carbon dioxide emissions. Replacing this “gray hydrogen” with green hydrogen is crucial for reducing global carbon dioxide emissions and transitioning to a more sustainable energy system.
The newly developed technology by the Technion researchers addresses the challenges associated with the current electrolysis process for green hydrogen production. Electrolysis involves the electrochemical decomposition of water into oxygen and hydrogen using renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power. While electrolysis has been known for over 200 years, it remains expensive for large-scale green hydrogen production.
The Technion researchers previously introduced an innovative electrolysis technique called E-TAC (Electrochemical Two-Step Anodic-Cathodic) that does not require a membrane to separate the cathodic and anodic compartments. The E-TAC process produces hydrogen and oxygen at different stages, eliminating the need for expensive membranes and sealing components.
In their latest work, the researchers present a new process where hydrogen and oxygen are produced simultaneously in two separate cells, improving upon the E-TAC technique. This novel process involves using NaBr aqueous electrolyte in water to overcome operational challenges and limitations associated with the solid electrode. The process allows for continuous hydrogen and oxygen production without the need for alternating cold and hot electrolytes.
The researchers demonstrated the preliminary feasibility of the proposed process and highlighted its high efficiency and ability to operate at high electric current, enabling the production of hydrogen at a rapid rate. While the technology is still in the early stages, it represents a scientific breakthrough with the potential to overcome obstacles in the industrial production of green hydrogen, making it a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels.