Easing Generation of Solar Hydrogen in Microgravity


An environment of microgravity has proved useful for conducting a number of experiments and has even created opportunities for new breakthroughs in chemical sciences. In a similar feat, a team of renowned international researchers has found a way of increasing the efficiency of generating solar hydrogen in a milieu of microgravity. The researchers made their observations and drew inferences from the fall of a photo-electrochemical cell from a drop tower. The research, published in Nature Communications journal, stated that the astronauts who travel to outer space for long durations of time require abundant amounts of air and fuel. It is impractical to carry such huge amounts of fuels with them, and hence, they are required to sustain themselves by creating their own. The current electrolysis technique used by the astronauts is inefficient, and the researchers had aimed to improve on these techniques.

Basis of Research

The current technique uses electrodes that are coated with a film of rhodium. The problem arises when the hydrogen bubble remain stuck up to the surface of the electrode instead of popping up through buoyancy. The researchers helped these bubbles to pop up in an environment of microgravity by changing the electrode’s texture. They found out that the new method gave enough time to the apparatus to create hydrogen gas until the drops fell through the tower.

Future Research

The researchers concur that the findings of the research are not sufficient to help the astronauts create their own air and fuel. However, they do believe that changing the electrode’s surface would turn out to be a practical approach for future projects.

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