Hydrogen for Fuel can be Extracted from Water Without Any Wastage
By July 19th, 2009Sunday, July 19, 2009 0:59 on
”There is no other chemical agent involved in the process – not solvents, catalysts or radial initiators,” said the researchers Roberto Bini. “This is extremely important because it means that at the end of the process there are no substances left to separate, treat or dispose of. In effect, the costs are reduced and there is zero-impact on the environment”.
The starting point for the technique is irradiating the water with a laser: ”The light excites the water molecules, which produce hydroxyl radicals and hydrogen atoms,” Roberto Bini explained. This separation usually lasts only a few quadrillionths of a second before the parts recombine but the Florence team found a way around this problem.
They realized that by applying the laser in high-pressure conditions – around 1,000 atmospheres – the separation lasts far longer. This means that large-volume pressurized irradiation reactors could be used for a number of chemical processes, including the generation of hydrogen for use as fuel.
According to Bini, because the laser uses near-ultraviolet radiation, sunlight could in theory eventually be used to obtain the same result. ”Currently, about 96% of hydrogen comes from non-renewable sources, such as carbon and hydrocarbon, and just 4% from water,” said Bini. He admitted the process still needed work but said he was optimistic about future developments.
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