Study Explores Possibilities to Produce Hydrogen from Water Using Renewable Sources of Energy

Published Date : Oct 04, 2019

The process of generation of hydrogen from water by making use of electric power is what electrolytic hydrogen production is all about. This electrical power should ideally be generated from renewable source of power like wind and sunlight. Though this process of hydrogen production could very well be an encouraging option of bettering sustainability, researchers, however, need to overcome some major obstacles for the process to become a commercial success.

In a recent study, a team of researchers from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology have discussed some of these key issues and presented a brand new approach for water splitting. It is a technique that improves current methods of electrolytic hydrogen production. This study extracts inspiration from one of the earlier researches on photoelectrochemical water splitting. Previous researches blended water electrolysis and solar energy to produce hydrogen from water and sunlight.

The Setup for Hydrogen Production is Expensive and Technically Difficult to Build

Gathering of hydrogen gas from several millions of photoelectrochemical cells scattered in the solar field is quite a challenging task that was identified in previous studies. In the current study, the researchers attempted to come up with a method that would overcome these challenges efficaciously.

One of the researchers of the study, Avner Rothschild, said that a solar farm is comprised of millions of individual photovoltaic cells, from which electric current is gathered onto a metal grid. Rothschild further stated that such collection of electric current is not so easy with hydrogen gas.

In an ideal future-ready photoelectrochemical solar plant, photoelectrochemical cells would replace photovoltaic cells. In such a setup, photoelectrochemical cells are capable of generating hydrogen in cathode compartment and oxygen in another space called anode compartment. A membrane is placed in between to make sure that oxygen and hydrogen do not get into one another’s chamber as it could lead to an explosion. Hydrogen gas needs to be gathered from each of the individual cells.

Creation of such a setup for hydrogen production is expensive and technically difficult.