Researchers have developed a new cleaner and cheaper way to produce hydrogen fuel from methane and electricity in just one step.
Hydrogen is an excellent fuel which, due to its high energetic density and zero greenhouse gas emission, is essential in a great number of industrial processes, researchers said.
Its combination with oxygen in the atmosphere produces energy and water as its sole by-product, making it one of the main candidates to substitute fossil fuels as a source of energy for the transport sector.
Results by researchers, including those from Valencia’s Polytechnic University (UPV) in Spain, have applications in the field of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles as well as the chemical industry.
The new method is capable of generating hydrogen from methane gas and electricity in just one step and with near-zero energy loss.
“The development and introduction in the market of hybrid and electric cars will allow us to reduce the impact of transport in CO2 emissions in coming years, and as a result, the greenhouse effect on the planet,” said Jose Manuel Serra, research professor at Superior Council of Scientific Investigations (CSIC).
Researchers developed a gas separation membrane reactor which is operated electronically and allows for the endothermic production of hydrogen with a near-zero energy loss.
“Our investigations show that it is possible to generate compressed hydrogen in just one step with high efficiency from electricity and methane gas or biogas and, simultaneously, isolate the CO2 and not release it into the atmosphere,” Serra said.
“Our method allows for the hydrogen to be produced at high pressure in a distributed manner, which means it could be produced in petrol stations, residential areas, garages or farms,” Serra added.