Energy - Inexpensive renewable hydrogen
Solar and wind energy could become more viable because of an innovation that produces a hydrogen stream of greater than 99 percent purity without using the more traditional proton-conducting polymers. This allows electricity generated by solar panels or wind turbines to feed the electrolyzers that produce hydrogen gas, which is then fed into a biofuels reactor for the production of liquid biofuels. Making this possible is a new materials and structural approach to electrolytic hydrogen production. Using modern lithographic techniques, a team led by Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Ivan Kravchenko fabricated porous silicon and plastic wafer barriers that serve as both proton conductors and electrode surface supports. Kravchenko demonstrated the feasibility of this approach using a 30-centimeter prototype design tower that separated the flow of hydrogen and oxygen bubbles.
November 08, 2011