Researchers have recently developed a new, more efficient way of making hydrogen directly from seawater without desalination. This breakthrough could lead to a more viable green hydrogen industry as it reduces the cost and energy consumption associated with current processes.
Hydrogen holds great promise as a clean fuel source for many industries, such as manufacturing, aviation and shipping. Unfortunately, over 80% of total global hydrogen production currently comes from fossil fuels and is responsible for producing around 830 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year*. To address this issue, scientists are trying to develop emissions-free ‘green’ hydrogen by splitting water molecules; however, this method is expensive and has not been commercially viable yet.
Now researchers at RMIT University have created an alternative approach which eliminates the need for desalination and also produces no toxic byproducts such as chlorine. Lead researcher Dr Nasir Mahmood, a Vice-Chancellor’s Senior Research Fellow at RMIT, said: “To be truly sustainable, the hydrogen we use must be 100% carbon-free across the entire production life cycle and must not cut into the world’s precious freshwater reserves.”
The new process involves using an electrolyser to split seawater into its component elements of hydrogen and oxygen in an economical manner. To make this possible, the team focused on developing highly efficient catalysts that can be manufactured cost-effectively. Their findings were published in the Wiley journal Small, and a provisional patent application for their new method.
With this development in green hydrogen technology, we may soon see a thriving industry emerge that allows us to access clean energy sources without compromising efficiency or sustainability.