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Researchers say in ten years the discovery could lead to homes that capture solar energy to make hydrogen for power

The main method for getting hydrogen out of water – electrolysis -- has been around for a long time. Electrolysis breaks water into hydrogen and oxygen and is currently used in many industrial processes where hydrogen is needed.

The problem with hydrolysis is that it is not particularly efficient because power is needed to produce the electrical current that breaks the hydrogen and oxygen out of the water. The other issue that makes hydrolysis expensive to perform is that the electrodes used tend to be made from very expensive and precious metals like platinum.

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed a new catalyst material that can be used for hydrolysis in water. Rather than expensive metals like platinum, the new material devised at MIT uses cobalt phosphate.

The researchers hope to use the new catalyst material to develop a closed-loop system that can make hydrogen with power gathered from solar energy or other electrical sources. The closed-loop concept would have hydrogen and water running though a fuel cell and the water would be recaptured and used again.

The researchers hope that within ten years the technology will yield a cost-effective system that combines clean energy generation with storage. The new catalyst material can operate in plain water at normal atmospheric pressure.

John turner from the National Renewable Energy Laboratories (NREL) says the work from MIT is a "significant result" reports Turner goes on to say, "The initial results look promising but it doesn't answer all the things you need in a catalyst."

MIT has patented the research and researchers at MIT in the electrical and mechanical engineering departments have committed to working with the research. Ultimately, the researchers envision a system for use in homes around the world that could be free from the power grid and have the ability to make and store enough power to be self-sufficient.

In late 2007, researchers from Penn State University developed a process for making hydrogen using microbes rather than electricity.

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Hope it works
By TechGuyCalifornia on 7/31/2008 10:13:06 PM , Rating: -1
We need to convert so that we are not relying on others to create energy for our houses and cars. The environment is suffering, especially in places like China who are blatently abusing the environment. Strange, they are so ahead of us, you think they would have started utilizing hyrdrogen on all of it's vehicles. I really think Hydrogen is the way to go. Another really cool energy source is compressed air. But, problem is, to get the compressed air compressed, you need electricity or energy again. Oh well. Thanks for reading.

RE: Hope it works
By Darkskypoet on 7/31/2008 10:33:10 PM , Rating: 1
Yes, China is 'Blatently' abusing the environment... Guess it really sucks to try and get 1/4 the worlds population to a decent living standard with somewhat outdated technology... Get a clue. Per capita their greenhouse gas emissions are about 1/8 of ours in North America:

Add to that the fact that any figures that currently measure such emissions and pollution DO NOT include imported goods. Thus all those lovely iPods for example aren't counted in current emissions calculations for the United States... No that would be added to China's total.

So really, get a clue. We are in no way more deserving of a decent standard of living then the Chinese people are, and as such quit your whining until they even approach our per capita emission figures. If anyone is 'blatently' destroying environments, we in the developed world are much farther up that list then the Chinese.

Industrial revolutions tend to be crappy, messy affairs. Just look into the history of the developed world. Funny that environmental protection, human, worker, and child rights didn't quite have the importance for our respective countries during ours either.

RE: Hope it works
By Alexstarfire on 7/31/08, Rating: -1
RE: Hope it works
By Communism on 8/1/2008 2:56:01 AM , Rating: 5
"Seriously, we all know that they are keeping their currency undervalued, therefore looking at it per capita isn't going to yield very accurate results."

Learn what per capita means before posting and looking like a complete retard

RE: Hope it works
By Ratinator on 8/1/2008 11:19:01 AM , Rating: 2
What in god's name does the value of their currency have to do with their per capita green house about head's exploding, I think yours may have blew up a while a ago.

RE: Hope it works
By bobcpg on 8/1/2008 12:09:27 AM , Rating: 5
Way to go Darkskypoet. Way to stay trendy and try to push the US to the brink. With your same logic I believe there is a reason we have came so far in such a short amount of time.

Funny how I goto other countries and see how they "abuse the environment" but yet some of us, Darkskypoet, seem to think getting that extra 0.05% better recycling program going in the US is a much bigger priority. Take the resources we use to get that extra 0.05% and put it in another "developing" country and they get a much bigger increase.

Unfortunately for you, and many others, it much easier to be a nay sayer about the US rather than actually but some thought into it.

RE: Hope it works
By banshee164 on 8/1/2008 8:53:46 AM , Rating: 2
Good job comparing China's 1994 data with ours from 2002... I have a feeling that China would be close to or past what we produce now in 2008 as a whole.

RE: Hope it works
By banshee164 on 8/1/2008 8:55:20 AM , Rating: 2

RE: Hope it works
By JustTom on 8/1/2008 12:24:47 PM , Rating: 2
The website you linked, carbonplanet, has data for the U.S. from 2002 and China from 1994. Hardly a fair comparasion.
Your point is still valid, the ratio is still mighty skewed.

Of course, one could argue carbon is not pollution. At the very least pollution is a lot more than just carbon. According to the world bank 16 of the top 20 most polluted cities in the world are in China.

RE: Hope it works
By Spuke on 8/1/2008 3:19:21 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, China has already passed us in greenhouse emissions.

This is from 2007:

RE: Hope it works
By jhb116 on 8/1/2008 2:53:31 AM , Rating: 2
So which part of CA are you from? You should already be aware that most of the South Western US struggles with fresh water supply as it is - ironically - the best area (for the US) that can take advantage of solar energy. Given the issues/struggles over water rights in the South West - where are we going to get all of that "plain" water from?

Before you say - hey there is this huge ocean there - yes and where are you going to put all of that salt which will be a main byproduct of using ocean water for H2?

RE: Hope it works
By DigitalFreak on 8/1/2008 7:47:07 AM , Rating: 2
The closed-loop concept would have hydrogen and water running though a fuel cell and the water would be recaptured and used again.

RE: Hope it works
By masher2 on 8/1/2008 6:07:50 PM , Rating: 2
> "yes and where are you going to put all of that salt which will be a main byproduct of using ocean water for H2?"

Back into the ocean you got it from?

RE: Hope it works
By roadrun777 on 8/2/2008 10:47:33 PM , Rating: 2
> "yes and where are you going to put all of that salt which will be a main byproduct of using ocean water for H2?" Back into the ocean you got it from?

You mean kind of like the evaporation process that put the salt their in the first place?

A parabolic mirror, a nice flash point, instant phase change, imagine...

RE: Hope it works
By nstott on 8/4/2008 12:55:19 AM , Rating: 2
Or in baggies to sell at Whole Foods... ;)

RE: Hope it works
By cenobite9 on 8/1/2008 6:56:22 PM , Rating: 3
> "yes and where are you going to put all of that salt which will be a main byproduct of using ocean water for H2?"

On my french fries...

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