As a fuel, hydrogen has a critical role to play in driving the paradigm shift towards a green and sustainable economy. A research team from IIT Bombay led by Prof. C. Subramaniam has come up with an innovative hydrogen manufacture route that increases its production three times and lowers the energy required that could pave the path towards environment-friendly hydrogen fuel at a lower cost.
The combustion of hydrogen to release energy produces water and is thus completely non-polluting. Due to the extremely low abundance of molecular hydrogen in the earth’s atmosphere, electric-field driven breakdown of water is an attractive route for the production of hydrogen. However, such electrolysis requires high energy input and is associated with the slow rate of hydrogen production. The use of expensive platinum- and iridium-based catalysts also discourages it for widespread commercialization. Therefore, the transition to the ‘green-hydrogen-economy’ demands approaches that lower the energy cost and material cost and simultaneously improve the hydrogen production rate.
Prof. Subramaniam 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. Given the importance of a hydrogen-based economy, we aim to implement the project in a mission mode and realise an indigenous magneto-electrolytic hydrogen generator. If their efforts are successful, we might be looking at an environmentally friendly fuel, hydrogen, replacing petroleum, diesel, and compressed natural gas (CNG) in the future.