Technion researchers develop eco-friendly hydrogen production technology

The Technion researchers opened a start-up based on this technology called H2Pro to convert the technology to a commercial application.

By
September 15, 2019 21:44
1 minute read.
Dr. Hen Dotan , Avigail Landman , Prof. Avner Rothschild and Prof. Gideon Grader

Dr. Hen Dotan , Avigail Landman , Prof. Avner Rothschild and Prof. Gideon Grader. (photo credit: CHEN GALILI)

Researchers at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology have developed an innovative, clean, inexpensive, and safe hydrogen production technology which would improve production efficiency from approximately 75% to 98.7%.

With 99% of the hydrogen being produced today originating from fossil fuels, the world is in "urgent need for cleaner and more environmentally-friendly alternatives for hydrogen production," according to the Technion spokesperson.

The production of hydrogen through extraction from natural gas is responsible for approximately 2% of all anthropogenic CO2 emissions into the atmosphere, which accelerates global warming.

The process discovered by the Technion researchers, which would allow hydrogen to be produced in a more eco-friendly manner, is as follows: The chemical makeup of the anode (the electrode where the oxidation process takes place) changes intermittently in a cyclic process. The researchers developed their process based on this.

In the first stage, the electrode where the reduction takes place, known as the cathode, produces hydrogen by reducing water molecules while the anode changes its chemical composition without producing oxygen at the same time.

Afterwards, the cathode is passive while the anode produces oxygen by oxidizing water molecules. At the end of this, the anode returns to its original state and the cycle begins again.

The process is called Electrochemical–Thermally-Activated Chemical (E-TAC) water splitting and manages to decouple the hydrogen and oxygen evolution reactions.


The Technion researchers opened a start-up based on this technology called H2Pro to convert the technology to a commercial application.

The research was conducted by the Department of Materials Science and Engineering's Professor Avner Rothschild and the Faculty of Chemical Engineering's Professor Gideon Grader.

About 53% of the hydrogen produced today is used to produce ammonia for fertilizers and other substances, 20% is used by refineries, 7% is used in methanol production and 20% serves other uses.

In the future, hydrogen is expected to serve additional applications, some of which are in accelerated stages of development: hydrogen as fuel for fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV), fuel for storing energy from renewable energy sources for grid balancing and power-to-gas (P2G) applications, industrial and home heating, and more.


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