Researchers create hydrogen from ethanol using solar energy

Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe and its presence on our planet isnt limited. However, one problem with hydrogen is that it is not found in its pure form on the earth, which means that it has to be extracted from sources such as methane and water, both of which require a lot of energy. A team of researchers at Spains Universitat Politcnica de Catalunya, Scotlands University of Aberdeen and New Zealands University of Auckland have now created a process, using which hydrogen can be produced from renewable ethanol using sunlight.......

The process is based on the use of a powdered photocatalyst, which is placed along with ethanol in a container. The mixture is agitated by exposing it to ultraviolet light. The containers titanium dioxide semiconductor generates electrons on exposure to sunlight, which are then captured by metallic gold nanoparticles within the catalyst. These captured electrons then react with alcohol in ethanol to produce hydrogen.

Using sunlight to produce hydrogen is not a new concept . However, the research team involved here states that -the process is highly affordable and requires far less energy as the process is accomplished at standard pressure and temperature. Moreover, the yield of the process is impressive, with just one kilogram of catalyst producing about 5 liters of hydrogen. The research team believes that they require just nine kilogram of catalyst to produce the hydrogen equivalent of 3KW of electrical power, which is sufficient to meet the needs of a typical household.


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