Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scientists have developed a technique that helps extract hydrogen from water efficiently and cheaply. Hydrogen can be used as a clean fuel in fuel cells, which produce power, with water and heat as the only byproducts. As a zero-emission fuel, the hydrogen can be recombined with oxygen to produce electric power on demand, such as onboard a fuel-cell vehicle.
The Livermore team and collaborators at Rice University and San Diego State University turned to electricity to produce clean hydrogen fuel by splitting water molecules, which are made of oxygen and hydrogen atoms.
“Hydrogen gas has immense potential as a source of sustainable fuel, because it generates no carbon emissions,” said LLNL co-author Brandon Wood.
“It can be produced from multiple sources, but the holy grail is to make it from water.” Wood also is a principal investigator for the Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s HydroGEN Advanced Water Splitting Materials Consortium, an Energy Materials Network node focused on hydrogen production from water.
Extracting hydrogen from water using electricity is a fairly straightforward process, but it is inefficient and usually takes a lot of energy.