Trinity researchers make hydrogen energy breakthrough

Renewable energy research took another big step forward as a new material developed in Ireland could make Hydrogen a real option for everyone, potentially ending our dependence on petrol and diesel.

Researchers at the nanoscience research institute Crann, located in Trinity College Dublin, have developed a new material which enhances the splitting of water by using earth abundant raw materials at a low energy cost which releases Hydrogen as a source of clean energy.

If you ask an energy expert or anyone who knows basic chemistry, Hydrogen has been seen as the ideal energy source. It’s seen as an attractive energy source because it is pollution free and can be an energy carrier. Hydrogen as an energy source is prepared by splitting water electrically into its component parts of hydrogen and oxygen, a process called electrolysis.

The reason it is not more common is due to high production costs and large amounts of energy is required to create it but that could be all about to change.

Professor Mike Lyons, the principal investigator at Crann and TCD School of Chemistry explained:

We are very excited about this very significant breakthrough. The adoption of this material in industry will mean that electrochemical hydrogen generation using photo (electrolysis) is now far more economically viable and will hasten adoption of hydrogen as a fuel in energy-efficient transportation.

“It should be noted that this discovery could only have been accomplished using the world class characterisation facilities and opportunity for interdisciplinary collaboration available within the School of Chemistry and Crann.

“Our disruptive materials breakthrough is momentous as it means much more energetically efficient and more economical hydrogen energy. This means that the cost of producing hydrogen via water electrolysis will be significantly reduced, which will result in a more rapid uptake of hydrogen as an automotive fuel.”

It is not yet known when consumers can expect Hydrogen to a mainstream option, but this breakthrough cannot be ignored and will no doubt put pressure on manufacturers to explore more renewable energy sources.


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