New prototype produces hydrogen fuel directly from the air

Researchers have developed a prototype direct air electrolysis (DAE) device that can produce clean hydrogen fuel from very little humidity in the air.

New prototype produces hydrogen fuel directly from the air
Published Sep 7, 2022 4:01 AM CDT   |   Updated Thu, Sep 29 2022 3:07 PM CDT
1 minute & 24 seconds read time

A study on the prototype device titled "Hydrogen production from the air" has been published in the journal Nature Communications.

New prototype produces hydrogen fuel directly from the air 02

A schematic diagram of the DAE module.

Researchers from the University of Melbourne have created a new system that utilizes direct air electrolysis (DAE) to produce hydrogen fuel directly from the moisture in the air. The researchers believe that 'green hydrogen' created cleanly, such as by splitting water (H2O) into hydrogen gas (H2), "is the most promising energy carrier of the low-carbon economy."

One of the hurdles for producing green hydrogen is the crossover between areas with renewable energy sources and freshwater availability. The researchers sought to overcome this with their prototype DAE module, which had a stable performance with 95% efficiency as it operated for 12 consecutive days. Notably, another of their devices was left to run on its own for eight months.

"Large parts of the world have water scarcity problems. When you have lots of renewable energy - wind or solar - you [often] don't have much fresh water for this type of hydrogen production," said Dr. Gang Kevin Li of the University of Melbourne.

The DAE module can operate in environments with a relative humidity of only 4%, circumventing any water supply issues and minimally impacting the environment as it produces hydrogen. It is estimated to be capable of producing 93 liters of hydrogen per square meter in an hour, which according to Li, means with ten square meters worth of DAE units, "you can power a whole house ... to replace your consumption of natural gas at home for cooking and heating."

You can read more from the study here.

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Adam grew up watching his dad play Turok 2 and Age of Empires on a PC in his computer room, and learned a love for video games through him. Adam was always working with computers, which helped build his natural affinity for working with them, leading to him building his own at 14, after taking apart and tinkering with other old computers and tech lying around. Adam has always been very interested in STEM subjects, and is always trying to learn more about the world and the way it works.

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