Researchers at the ITQ and ITACA Institute in Valencia have developed a technology that allows water, electricity and ionic materials activated by microwaves to produce hydrogen. This progress can be applied to various fields of renewable energy storage, industry and transportation.
Use CO-free technology to meet the world’s energy needs2 pcs Thanks to the increasing popularity of renewable resources, this has become a reality.One of the most promising sources of energy system decarbonization is hydrogen, But it needs more efficient mass production.
In this case, from Institute of Chemical Technology (ITQ, The hybrid center of the Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV– and CSIC) and Institute of Information Technology and Advanced Communication Applications (ITACA(UPV) has developed a technology that can convert electricity and water into hydrogen, using only power microwaves, without the need for cables or contact with electrodes.
Specifically, the hydrogen molecule (H2 pcs) Is through electrolysis of water (H2 pcsO) is mediated by microwave redox (redox) activation of solid ionic materials (gallium-doped cerium oxide) at a relatively low temperature (below 250°C). Oxygen (O2 pcs) And methane (CH4) And a reactor.Details of this complex process have been published in the magazine Natural energy.
Schematic diagram of hydrogen production with new technology. /Natural energy
The microwave reduction of solid materials makes it possible to directly perform electrochemical processes in a certain volume without using electrodes. This greatly simplifies and reduces its practical application by having greater freedom in the selection of device structure design and operating conditions. Temperature.
Initially, the team observed that when ionic materials were treated with microwaves, they exhibited unusual changes in their properties, especially changes in their electronic conductivity, which would not occur when heated in a conventional manner.
He explained: “Our curiosity about these sudden changes in electrical properties allows us to continue to research, design new experiments, new microwave reactors and apply other analytical techniques.” Jose Manuel Catalá ITACA.
Researchers have discovered that microwaves accelerate the interaction of electrons with materials and cause oxygen molecules to be released (reduced) from their structure. At a relatively low temperature (about 300°C), a sudden change in conductivity can accurately reflect this change.
He pointed out: “This semi-equilibrium state is maintained while applying microwaves, but when microwaves are no longer applied, this state tends to be reversed by re-oxidation (re-oxidation).” José Manuel SerraCSIC ITQ’s research professor said: “Therefore, we immediately realized the huge practical potential of this discovery.”
Revolutionary technology decarbonizes the industry
According to the authors, their research represents a revolution in the field of energy research and is also a key progress in the process of industrial decarbonization. To achieve the EU goal of achieving climate neutrality by 2050, the goal of zero net greenhouse gas emissions is necessary.
Serra emphasized: “This technology has huge potential for practical applications, especially in the production of energy storage, synthetic fuels and green chemical products.”
He added: “Now, this aspect is of transcendence, because transportation and industry are involved in the transition to decarbonization, that is, they must meet very demanding targets between 2030 and 2040 to reduce fossil energy. And energy consumption. Mainly natural gas and oil.”
The main application of this “revolutionary” technology is the production of green hydrogen (produced without emitting greenhouse gases) from water for industrial use and transportation.
Department in Automobile industry It can be applied to cars powered by fuel cells and hybrid vehicles or large vehicles such as trains or ships. But it also applies to the chemical industry, metallurgy, ceramics, or fertilizer production.
“This method will make it possible to convert renewable electricity, usually from solar or wind energy, into value-added products and green fuels. It has countless applications. We hope that new uses will emerge in energy storage, the development of new materials, and chemical production.”
In the article, the researcher provides a Technology and Economic Research This shows that the use of this technology can achieve high energy efficiency, and the cost of the equipment used to develop the hydrogen production process is very competitive compared to traditional technology.
Super fast battery charging and space exploration
The UPV and CSIC teams are now investigating other future applications of this technology and focus their work on ultra-fast battery charging.
“Our technology can reduce the overall volume of the energy-storing electrode (metal anode) almost instantaneously. In other words, we will transition from a time-consuming layer-by-layer charging process to a synchronous process in the entire electrolyte, which will allow Charge the battery in a few seconds,” Catalá pointed out. .
Another application is Direct oxygen production Microwave technology has opened up a wide range of new applications. Serra said: “A special purpose is to directly produce oxygen with extraterrestrial rocks, which may play an important role in the future exploration and colonization of the moon, Mars or other rocky bodies in the solar system.”
JM Serra, JM Catala-Civera, etc. “Hydrogen production by microwave-induced low-temperature water decomposition.” Natural energy