Creating hydrogen has been now an important subject for scientists.
Researchers from New Zealand, Scotland, and Spain have reached to the conclusion that at the suitable temperature and pressure, using a combination of sunlight and ethanol, they can produce Hydrogen. The team of researchers from Spain’s Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Scotland’s University of Aberdeen and New Zealand’s University of Auckland say the method is cheaper, produces higher yields and uses less energy than conventional methods, that less than 20 lbs of catalyst can produce hydrogen to power a fuel cell able that create 3kW of electricity.
The process happens by placing a powdered form of a photocatalyst and ethanol in a container then expose them to ultraviolet light. A semiconductor inside the container generates electrons, which are captured by gold nanoparticles in the catalyst and react with the alcohol molecules of the ethanol, producing hydrogen.
A photocatalyst was created to generate hydrogen at normal temperatures and pressures, thus, making the production technique simple and cost-efficient. The photocatalyst was housed in a container along with ethanol and exposed to ultraviolet rays. The electrons that are generated from the catalyst are captured by metallic gold nanoparticles, which produce hydrogen when made to react with ethanol. The quantity of hydrogen produced is proportional to the amount of catalyst and the area that is exposed to UV rays. Researchers were able to produce up to five litres of hydrogen by using one kilogram of catalyst in one minute.
Jordi Llorca, who is the director of the Institute of Energy Technology and researcher at UPC, intends to extend the research findings to real-life applications such as providing electricity for homes. When compared to other alternative resources for generating electricity, usage of ethanol is considered as the most economically viable option. The photocatalyst that has been used in the process is also easily available at low cost and is more durable.
The research team also discovered that the amount of hydrogen produced is not dependent on the size of the gold nanoparticles.