Taking Hydrogen From Water With Magnets? Indian Scientists Invent Unique Way to Make Fuel
The team said that if this method succeeds commercially, the country will have an environmentally friendly fuel which could possibly replace petroleum, diesel, and compressed natural gas (CNG). The scientists also want to develop an indigenous magneto-electrolytic hydrogen generator.
Scientists from India’s leading research facility, the Indian Institutes of Technology-Bombay, have developed a unique way to create hydrogen that is three times as productive as ordinary methods. Keeping in mind the increasing environmental challenges, hydrogen is a clean fuel that burns about three times as hot as non-renewable energy sources such as coal and gasoline.
However, the amount of molecular hydrogen in the earth’s atmosphere is extremely low. Although breaking down water with an electric field is an attractive route for the production of hydrogen it demands higher energy inputs and has a slow rate of production.
To overcome these challenges, the team led by Professor C. Subramaniam attempted electrolysis of water in the presence of an external magnetic field. They found that by this method they could capture 3ml of hydrogen using only 80 percent of the energy formerly required to capture 1ml. “This is achieved by synergistically coupling the electric and magnetic fields at the catalytic site,” the researchers said.
“The intermittent use of an external magnetic field provides a new direction for achieving energy-efficient hydrogen generation. Other catalysts can also be explored for this purpose. A basic electrolysis cell of 0.5 nm3/hr [normal cubic metre per hour] capacity can be immediately upgraded to a 1.5 nm3/hr capacity by replacing the catalysts and supplying the magnetic field,” Professor Subramaniam said.
At present the team is working with an industrial partner to increase the Technology readiness level (TRL) level and ensure it can be successfully commercialised.