196: Hydrogen from salt and polluted water


One of the main methods of producing hydrogen is to decompose water by exposure to sunlight. There is a lot of water on our planet, but only a few methods suitable for salt or polluted water.


Scientists of Tomsk Polytechnic University’s Research School of Chemistry & Applied Biomedical Sciences, jointly with teams from the University of Chemistry and Technology, Prague and Jan Evangelista Purkyne University in Ústí nad Labem, have developed a new 2-D material to produce hydrogen.

The material efficiently generates hydrogen molecules from fresh, salt, and polluted water by exposure to sunlight. In addition it is one of the few systems which can use the infrared spectrum, which is 43% of all sunlight.

The developed material is a three-layer structure with a 1-micrometer thickness. The lower layer is a thin film of gold, the second one is made of 10-nanometer platinum, and the top layer is a film of metal-organic frameworks of chromium compounds and organic molecules.

Experiments have demonstrated that 100 square centimeters of the material can generate 0.5 liters of hydrogen in an hour. It is one of the highest rates recorded for 2-D materials.

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