New prototype device collects water from air to produce hydrogen fuel

(ORDO NEWS) — Hydrogen has huge potential as a clean fuel: it is plentiful (mainly in compounds like water), produces no harmful emissions, and can also be used to store energy from the sun, wind, and tides.

However, there are challenges in producing enough materials in a practical and affordable way. Separating hydrogen from water can require complex technology and also depends on clean fresh water, which is not available everywhere in abundance.

Now scientists have come up with a new prototype device that can harvest water from moist air before breaking it down. convert it into hydrogen and oxygen.

Moreover, it is able to work in places where humidity (the concentration of water vapor in the air) is as low as 4 percent.

“In this work, we confirm that the moisture in the air can be directly used to produce hydrogen via electrolysis due to its universal availability and natural inexhaustibility,” the researchers write in the published paper.

A device put together. researchers is a prototype electrolyzer powered by electricity from renewable energy sources to decompose water into its elements, hydrogen and oxygen. In one test with a solar power source, five cells were operated in parallel.

The electrodes sit on either side of a water-collecting device, a sponge-like material that absorbs water from the air but doubles as it does so. as an electrolyte reservoir. Both electrodes are isolated from air, which means that after separation, hydrogen and oxygen can be collected as pure gases.

Several different materials and setups were tested to ensure that the prototype device ran at a satisfactory speed. level, and one of the configurations the researchers tried was able to work successfully for 12 consecutive days.

“This so-called direct air electrolysis (DAE) module can operate in a completely dry environment with a relative humidity of 4 percent, overcoming water supply problems and producing green hydrogen sustainably with minimal environmental impact,” the researchers write.

Clean drinking water is at a premium in most places, so this device can be used. anywhere without running out of stock. However, it is likely to be most beneficial in arid or semi-arid regions where water is scarce.

Recently, we have witnessed another major breakthrough in the production of hydrogen fuel: aluminum and gallium are used to separate hydrogen and oxygen molecules in water. Now scientists have several ways to make hydrogen energy a more common reality.

It is worth remembering that this technology is still in its early stages: different DAE installations and materials have led to different results in terms of efficiency and power generation. However, the team is confident that their device can be improved and scaled.

“Further improvement in the surface-to-volume ratio with engineered channels, or increasing the aspect ratio of the sponge material, guarantees the rate of water absorption, which is necessary for scaling DAE units,” the researchers write.

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