Scientists Develop a Sustainable Source of Energy Using Seawater


In light of recent technological developments and industrialization, there is a high demand for sustainable sources of energy. Splitting hydrogen and oxygen from water can serve as one such excellent source for sustainable energy. However, the conventional methods of water splitting are highly expensive and led to the depletion of precious energy sources. Stanford scientists have developed a new technique of producing hydrogen fuel using solar energy.

Coating Anode with Chloride Repellant to Aid Electrolysis

A unique aspect of this research is that they used seawater to produce hydrogen fuel. This research has not only paved way for a sustainable energy source but facilitated production of breathable oxygen. This has made life of divers easy as they can now carry devices in the ocean to produce oxygen. Hongjie Dai, professor at Stanford University, said, using hydrogen fuel can benefit the environment as it does not emit CO2.

Earlier, electrolysis was the only method to separate hydrogen and oxygen. It involves placing two electrodes in water and connecting them to a power source. However, this process produces chloride that can corrode the positive end, that is, the anode. The researchers wanted to stop corrosion of anode as it reduced the shelf-life of the system. To achieve this, they covered it with a chloride repellant. For this, they coated nickel sulphide with a layer of nickel-iron hydroxide. This negatively charged layer prevents chloride from reaching the anode. This enables the electrode to work for more than a thousand hours. Moreover, it facilitates a faster generation of hydrogen from seawater as it produces a large amount of electricity.

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