Researchers at the CRANN institute in Trinity College Dublin have discovered a way of producing hydrogen that is 90% cheaper than existing methods.
The discovery could help the development of a viable alternative to fossil fuels which is one of the greatest technological challenges faced by humanity.
Hydrogen-Fueled vehicles have become more numerous in the last decade but CRANN have developed a material which enhances the splitting of water at a very low energy cost using earth abundant raw materials.
This new material performs as well as the world’s most effective material for water splitting but is extremely cheaper and allows the extraction of pure hydrogen from water.
This is a groundbreaking discovery as it means that energy efficient production of pure hydrogen is now possible using renewable energy sources which will potentially accelerate adoption of hydrogen as a fuel in energy efficient transportation.
Hydrogen has been described as the ultimate clean energy source, as it is does not cause pollution, and would satisfy much of the energy requirements of our society.
But the widespread uptake of hydrogen as a fuel has been hampered by the lack of low cost, earth abundant materials which split the water, in an economically efficient manner.
The CRANN breakthrough has been published in the prestigious international journal ACS Catalysis, and shows that the ruthenium content can be reduced by as much as 90% and substituted with manganese oxide, an abundant resource.
Professor Mike Lyons, from the CRANN institute, says hydrogen-fuelled cars could be the future.
“Hydrogen can be generated at the forecourt, it can be pumped just like petrol, and between fills you can perhaps go for 400-500 miles,
“So it really is a credible alternative to petrol.
“We are very excited about this very significant breakthrough.”