A team of researchers from Australia, China, and the US has made a groundbreaking discovery by developing a new electrolyzer that can produce hydrogen from saltwater without any pre-treatment. This new method could revolutionize the hydrogen production industry by eliminating the need for fresh water, which is a scarce resource in many parts of the world.
The team achieved this feat by constructing an electrode made of cobalt oxide with a nanostructure, which can help prevent the migration of chloride ions to the positively charged electrode. This, in turn, can prevent the accumulation of hydroxyl groups in the water. Furthermore, a thin layer of Lewis acid (L-acid), specifically chromium oxide, is applied to the newly developed electrode. This enables hydroxyl groups to reach the electrode more easily and frequently than chloride ions, without requiring fresh water.
This new development has the potential to make hydrogen production more efficient and sustainable, and could help reduce the demand for fresh water in the process. This is especially important in areas where fresh water is scarce, as the system can be built in places with high solar energy yields.
The researchers presented their findings in the prestigious scientific journal Nature Energy, and their discovery has the potential to transform the renewable energy industry. By reducing the dependence on fresh water, this new development could help promote sustainable and environmentally-friendly practices in hydrogen production