A group of engineers manages to produce green hydrogen with waste

Today, the generation of pure hydrogen is a very expensive method that requires large amounts of energy.

It is achieved through a electrolysis process which uses an electrical discharge to split water into oxygen and hydrogen. The energy necessary to launch this discharge is normally obtained by fossil resources such as coal or natural gas.

Or so it was until now.

The University of Illinois Chicago has presented in an article Cell Reports Physical Science an innovative method to obtain Hydrogen gas from agricultural waste such as husks or manureusing only solar energy and water.

This team of engineers has managed to discard these fossil fuels necessary for electrolysis and have replaced with a biomass from waste, such as sugarcane husks, hemp waste, paper waste and cow dung. The latter has also proven to be the most effective.

By mixing it with sulfuric acid, they have managed to produce biochar, a carbon-rich substance which reduces the energy needed to produce the electrolysis discharge in 600%leaving it at a fraction of a volt.

The reaction generates carbon dioxide which, according to this university team, could also be reused for carbonate soft drinks or convert to ethylene or in some other chemical for the manufacture of plastics.

In this way, and by capturing this byproduct and taking advantage of renewable energy sources, such as solar, this process could reduce your environmental impact to zero.

Looking to the future

Hydrogen is the most abundant element on Earth, in combination with other chemical elements. It is also about a key element in the race to decarbonize our economythanks to green hydrogen, a light, powerful and renewably produced fuel.

Therefore, they have already been requested patents and the UIC team plans to test this method in larger scales.