Scientists at Scotland’s University of Glasgow say they’ve found a new way to produce hydrogen from clean, renewable energy sources.
In a paper published in September in the journal Science, the researchers explain how they’ve created a system that can produce hydrogen 30 times quicker than ever before, and using power from green energy like wind and solar.
Hydrogen is a clean fuel, producing only water when consumed. It has minimal environmental impacts if used in fuel cells or combusted to produce electricity, and companies are already making hydrogen-powered cars that don’t produce harmful emissions. But, hydrogen is not usually produced using carbon-free sources, meaning it is not inherently a climate neutral energy source. As Lee Cronin, who led the research team, pointed out in a university news release, “Around 95% of the world’s hydrogen supply is currently obtained from fossil fuels, a finite resource which we know harms the environment and speeds climate change.”
Hydrogen also has the potential to store renewable energy for later use. Because renewable power generation relies on the availability of the resource — the sun must be shining or the wind must be blowing to make power — finding good methods to store renewable energy for the off-hours has been a challenge. By producing hydrogen using excess energy, renewable power companies could store power and use it later.
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