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Production of Hydrogen Fuel from Seawater without pretreatment

The world is moving from non-renewables to renewables as fossil fuels are disappearing and demand for clean energy is increasing considering climate change. In such a situation, demand for hydrogen fuel, a clean energy source, is expected to rise in the upcoming years. 

The research team of the University of Adelaide, Australia, developed a clean hydrogen fuel from seawater without any prior treatment. According to the research team co-leader, the production process of hydrogen fuel comprises an electrolysis reaction in which seawater molecules break down into oxygen and hydrogen using a common and inexpensive catalyst with nearly 100% efficiency.

In the above electrolysis reaction, cobalt oxide and chromium oxide were the catalysts used on its surface. For purified and deionized water, platinum and iridium catalysts can be used for similar results.

Commonly seawater is a plentiful resource for hydrogen fuel generation as compared to freshwater, and it could be cost-effective. If this project becomes commercial, then the coastal communities will be benefited by producing abundant green energy that is more affordable.

The team wants to scale this project to a larger electrolyzer for commercial production of hydrogen fuel and ammonia synthesis, although the project is in the early stages of development.