Prototype pulls hydrogen from air
Local researchers are testing a prototype electrolyser that can convert the humidity in the air into hydrogen.
Green hydrogen, produced by electrolysers using electricity and water, represents a potential alternative to CO2-emitting fossil fuels.
Electrolysers can be powered by renewable energy sources, however, current devices often require complex material components, rare metals, and access to pure water, which can lead to competition with limited supplies of drinking water. These factors drive up costs and limit widespread implementation.
Because current methods to create hydrogen require pure water that could otherwise be used for drinking, researchers at the University of Melbourne have developed a way to use the moisture in humid air to avoid competing for resources.
The new device harvests humid air instead of liquid water, absorbing moisture out of the air and splitting the collected water into hydrogen and oxygen.
The researchers powered the device using renewable energy (solar or wind power) and were able to operate it for 12 consecutive days.
They have also demonstrated that the device can operate efficiently in a dry environment of around 4 per cent humidity, without the need for liquid water.
The researchers say this device could be scalable and help provide fuel for remote, arid and semi-arid regions.
More information is accessible here.