In a recent move, a group of researchers from the Technion Faculty of Materials Science and Engineering has gone on to present a new technology so as to produce green hydrogen by way of using renewable energy. This breakthrough was recently published in Nature Materials.
This novel technology has in it significant advantages as compared to other processes so as to produce green hydrogen, and its development into a commercial tech is most likely to lessen the costs and also speed up the use of green hydrogen as a clean, sustainable choice to fossil fuels.
Making use of hydrogen as a fuel rather than coal, gasoline, as well as natural gas will go on to reduce the usage of these fuels and greenhouse gas emissions from numerous sources, such as transportation, the production of materials as well as chemicals, and industrial heating. Unlike these fuels, which go on to emit carbon dioxide into the atmosphere as they combust in the air, hydrogen happens to produce water and is hence considered a clean fuel.
But the most common way to create hydrogen is by using natural gas or coal, and the process goes on to emit large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, thereby cancelling out its benefits as a green and sustainable alternative to fossil fuels. Apparently, in 2022, the worldwide consumption of hydrogen stood at almost 95 million tons, which is a quantity suitable for enhancing various fuel products and specifically so as to produce ammonia, which is required for manufacturing agricultural fertilizers.
Almost all of the hydrogen that gets consumed today happens to be produced from fossil fuels, which is why it is named gray hydrogen, which is made from methane, or black hydrogen, which is made from coal. Hydrogen production by way of using these methods happens to be responsible for almost 2.5% of the yearly global carbon dioxide emissions within the atmosphere due to human actions. Replacing gray hydrogen with green hydrogen is essential to lessening this significant source of emissions and then replacing fossil fuels that cause pollution with clean and sustainable hydrogen.
Numerous estimates go on to predict that green hydrogen is most likely to account for almost 10% of the global energy market at net zero emissions, the present target for mitigating climate change as well as global warming due to the greenhouse effect because of the increased concentration of carbon dioxide within the atmosphere. That is the reason for the massive importance of green hydrogen when it comes to combating global warming.
Green hydrogen gets produced by way of electrolysis, which is the electrochemical decomposition of water into oxygen and hydrogen by way of using energy from renewable sources like wind and sun. Electrolysis was discovered over 200 years back, and since then it has gone through many developments as well as enhancements. But it still happens to be very expensive in terms of producing green hydrogen at a competitive price.
It is worth noting that one of the technological barriers that go on to limit the usage of electrolysis for producing large sums of green hydrogen is the requirement for expensive membranes, gaskets, as well as sealing components so as to separate the cathodic as well as anodic compartments.
Many years ago, researchers from Technion went ahead and presented an innovative as well as efficient electrolysis technique that did not require a membrane and even a sealing to separate the two parts of the cell, as the hydrogen and the oxygen were produced at different stages of the process, not like in regular electrolysis, wherein they were created simultaneously.
This novel process, named as E-TAC, got developed under the supervision of Prof. Avner Rothschild as well as Prof. Gideon Grader by Dr. Hen Dotan and Dr. Avigail Landman. They went on to collaborate with entrepreneur Talmon Marco in order to fulfill the process’s potential and also create commercial applications.