Hydrogen Electrolyzer Freezer-SizeAffordable, Scalable Clean Energy Storage and Reuse

A Revolution for the Hydrogen Economy?

Clean Tech Trends

An exciting new discovery has been made by Canadian scientists that would allow the electrolysis of water for hydrogen generation. The discovery would allow renewable energy to be stored and reused at a cost of 1000 less than technologies previously developed.

 

One of the biggest impediments to affordable renewable energy use on a mass-scale has been timing. Peak use does not necessarily coincide with peak production of wind and solar energy, and storing the energy has not been an affordable option.

 

Such energy is clean and renewable, but it’s available only when the sun is shining or the wind is blowing. The new technology opens the door to homeowners and energy companies being able to easily store and reuse solar and wind power.

 

Energy storage in fuel cells has required expensive catalysts in order to produce hydrogen fuel from water. Current catalysts are typically are made from rare, expensive and toxic metals in a crystalline structure.

 

To be viable the hydrogen economy needs a commercially-viable electrolyzer. A good catalyst will lower the amount of electricity that is needed to produce hydrogen and oxygen from water. The hydrogen would then be stored in tanks and fed into fuel cell to produce electricity as needed.

 

University of Calgary researchers Curtis Berlinguette and Simon Trudel have patented a novel method for making catalysts using inexpensive metals, whose only byproduct is water, which can be recycled through the system.

 

The breakthrough is in creating simpler catalysts from abundant metal compounds or oxides. These inexpensive metals have an amorphous molecular structure that makes them more reactive than the current crystalline shaped catalysts made of rare metals.

 

The scientists’ proprietary technology was just published in a Science magazine. The article discusses the breakthrough methodology of fabricating electrocatalysts made of inexpensive, non-toxic, and abundant resources to facilitate the production of clean hydrogen from water

 

The FireWater Fuel Corp plans to develop an electrolyzer to produce hydrogen for energy storage at wind farms as a starting point. By 2015, the company wants to create a commercial prototype of a freezer-size electrolyzer that would convert a few liters of water a day to electricity for consumers.

 

If such aspirations can be realized, this will indeed be a revolution for the hydrogen economy.

 

References:

 

Photochemical Route for Accessing Amorphous Metal Oxide Materials for Water Oxidation Catalysis
Cheaper green energy storage solution invented by Calgary profs
Discovery on Storing and Reusing Renewable Energy
FireWater Fuel – A Clean Energy Company

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