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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 News.com. 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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RE: Build Nuclear Power Plants
By BansheeX on 8/1/2008 8:45:12 AM , Rating: 5
Not only are meltdowns not explosions, the only meltdown was over thirty years ago in a government operated RNK plant in soviet Russia. France is already 80% nuclear and the largest energy exporter in Europe. They would need something like a hundred meltdowns a year to equal the death and suffering caused by airborne particulates, water contamination, oil resource wars, bio-fuel induced food shortages/price spikes.

Ignorant fearmongering environmentalists like yourself should be charged with crimes against humanity for blocking American nuclear the last thirty years.


RE: Build Nuclear Power Plants
By pugnaciousg on 8/1/2008 4:41:14 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think there is anything incorrect in your statement, but you are omitting the achilles heel of nuclear power...nuclear waste.

France may be the largest energy exporter in Europe, but they also have a lot of waste.

"According to the study "La France nucléaire", published in 2002 by the World Information Service on Energy (WISE), each year the French nuclear station Eurodif, situated on the banks of the Rhone River, 700 km south of the French capital, produces 15,000 tonnes of depleted uranium.

Most of that waste is of no further use, and is simply stored at the nuclear plant. Today there are an estimated 200,000 tonnes of this nuclear material being warehoused there."

Everyone wants cheap power, but no one wants the leftovers buried in their backyard.


By masher2 (blog) on 8/1/2008 6:06:41 PM , Rating: 5
> "produces 15,000 tonnes of depleted uranium."

Depleted uranium is not "nuclear waste". It's *less* radioactive than the rock they dug out of the ground in the first place.

> " but no one wants the leftovers buried in their backyard."

If you live in a New England or Rocky Mountain state, or many other areas of the world, you already have several thousand pounds of radioactive waste buried in your backyard...waste left over from when Mother Nature made the planet.


RE: Build Nuclear Power Plants
By BansheeX on 8/1/2008 7:56:21 PM , Rating: 2
That's one of the reasons why it isn't anywhere near as dangerous. The actual waste product is extremely dense and not combustion based, making it voluminously small and easily captured and contained. How many people have died from nuclear power in the USA? 0. How many people have died from nuclear power in France? 0. How many people have died from wind farms? 15, and they are less than 1% of our power output. People fall while repairing them or parachute into them. They also kill a hell of a lot of migratory birds. So it's official, wind power is more dangerous than nuclear power, takes up vast amounts of space, only works when it's windy, and produces a fraction of the power nuclear can. Decent for rural areas, but little else.

NIMBY people are retards and don't know how pervasive this issue is. Millions are dying in resource wars and food riots. People are getting taxed for ethanol, others are starving from the high food prices. Smog from combustion is getting worse every day. And they apparently prefer all of it, because they keep waving their NIMBY signs against nuclear. Waiting for a magical power fairy, I guess.


By pugnaciousg on 8/4/2008 11:35:34 AM , Rating: 2
Ok, I'll bite. Let's do it, let's pull the trigger on this. Who do we write letters to, our congressmen? Ok, as long as we keep our Safety Culture and don't outsource any of the manufacturing/construction to lowest dollar bids. That can't happen, it's the DoE making the right calls making Americans safe against the lowest bidder. Wait, the U.S. doesn't do that anymore, we pay for our Safety! But heck this is about cheap energy, let's make it competitive. Let's get Walmart branded light water fission reactors and really save the bucks. We can get Starbucks to add little glowing mochachinos to their menus as a nationwide support campaign! We'd make a killing.

Seriously, if this way can save me a bunch on my energy/food/car insurance bill and I'll see the savings soon, I'm all for it. So who do we call?


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