Scientists Find a Simple Way to Produce Hydrogen From Water at Room Temperature


Researchers have developed a technique to produce hydrogen from water at ambient temperatures without the need for electricity. In the new research, scientists describe a relatively simple method involving aluminum nanoparticles that are able to strip the oxygen from water molecules and leave hydrogen gas.

The process yields large amounts of hydrogen, and it all works at room temperature. That removes one of the big barriers to hydrogen fuel production: the large amounts of power required to produce it using existing methods. This technique works with any kind of water, too, including wastewater and ocean water. With the help of scanning electron microscopy and X-ray diffraction techniques, the researchers were able to find the best mix of aluminum and gallium for producing hydrogen with the greatest efficiency: a 3:1 gallium-aluminum composite.

Due to the new proportion of the composite, not only was gallium removing the aluminium oxide coating, but it was also separating the aluminium into nanoparticles, which helped speed up the reaction. The researchers found that a 3:1 ratio of gallium and aluminium in the composite was the optimum ratio for the highest hydrogen production. Further, the composite is very easy to form. The researchers created it by manually mixing small amounts of aluminium into gallium.

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