Water-Splitter Provides Clean Hydrogen Energy
Hydrogen, a gas that is commonly found in water, can be used as a source of energy and fuel. However, obtaining hydrogen in its single state is not always an easy or efficient process. This week, scientists at the University of Stanford have invented a device that can split the water molecule leaving isolated hydrogen and oxygen atoms. The device is described as a low voltage, single catalyst, water-splitter. Their belief is that the water-splitter will be valuable in isolating gases and can be applied in the renewable energy conversion process.
If you haven’t been following us, developing technologies is a subject that is near and dear to ATS considering that we test for and remove outdated storage tanks and even developed our own tank testing equipment. Scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs are constantly creating new technologies that make our daily lives easier, streamline difficult processes, improve the environment, and generally bring us closer as a global community. Every Thursday, the ATS blog brings you a new “tech” that we think is worth learning about!
Initially, the research team considered previous water-splitting models. The current technology for atom splitting models required two electrodes consisting of two different expensive metals that acted as catalysts to draw out the hydrogen and oxygen respectively. In their new device, the team uses only nickle-iron oxide as the catalyst for both electrodes. Therefore, the device is able to operate more efficiently with consistent pH and low voltage levels. After modifying the voltage, the device is also able to continually operate for over a week at a time which the researchers’ note is “unprecedented.”
While the technology is still undergoing development, it will be interesting to see how the water-splitting can be applied and the ramifications to hydrogen and other gases as energy sources in the future.