Scientists in Wisconsin have stumbled upon a cheap and efficient way to create hydrogen, which could change the energy industry.
It’s one of the holy grails of the energy industry: a cost-effective way to generate hydrogen, and a team of researchers thinks they may have just found it.
Scientists at the University of Wisconsin believe the have found a cheap and efficient way to produce hydrogen without having to use noble gases as a catalyst, and they were able to do it by combining phosphorous and sulfur, two common elements, as well as cobalt, a metal that is much cheaper than even the cheapest noble metal, according to a UPI report.
It’s an important discovery because scientists hope to fuel the future world with an eco-friendly source, and hydrogen could be that source: it can be burned for heat or used in fuel cells, and they don’t give off bad emissions like fossil fuels when burned: hydrogen’s byproduct is water.
But the technology to make that happen in a cost-effective way has eluded scientists. They have had to use incredibly expensive noble metals like platinum to split the water and generate hydrogen. If scientists could figure out another way, it could have huge implications for the energy industry.
The Wisconsin researchers say they have demonstrated a proof-of-concept device that uses a cobalt catalyst and solar energy to produce hydrogen.
If this can be further demonstrated and be made commercially viable, it would not only change the energy industry but also provide a new tool in the fight against global warming.
The findings were published in the journal Nature Materials.
Unlike noble metals, hydrogen is quite plentiful in our world: the problem is, most accessible hydrogen its is tied up with oxygen to create water, so in order for it to be used as fuel, it must be split from the oxygen atoms.
Hydrogen is the lightest element in the periodic table, and it is believed to be the most abundant chemical substance in the universe.