via Polytechnic University of Valencia
The technology developed by researchers from the ITACA and ITQ institutes makes it possible to transform electric energy into hydrogen or chemical products, solely using microwaves to do so.
A team of researchers from the Polytechnic University of Valencia and the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) has discovered a new method that makes it possible to transform electricity into hydrogen or chemical products solely using microwaves – without cables and without any type of contact with electrodes. This represents a revolution in the field of energy research and a key development for the process of industrial decarbonisation, as well as for the future of the automotive sector and the chemical industry, among many others. The study has been published in the latest edition of Nature Energy, where the discovery is explained.
The technology developed and patented by the UPV and CSIC is based on the phenomenon of the microwave reduction of solid materials. This method makes it possible to carry out electrochemical processes directly without requiring electrodes, which simplifies and significantly cheapens its practical use, as it provides more freedom in the design of the structure of the device and choosing the operation conditions, mainly the temperature.“It is a technology with great practical potential, especially for its use in storing energy and producing synthetic fuels and green chemical products. This aspect has significant importance today, as both transportation and industry are immersed in a transition to decarbonise, meaning they have to meet very demanding goals between 2030 and 2040 to decrease the consumption of energy and substances from fossil sources, mainly natural gas and oil,” highlights José Manuel Serra, research lecturer of the CSIC at the Chemical Technology Institute.
Green hydrogen for industrial and transportation uses
The main use of this “revolutionary” technology studied by researchers from the Information Technologies and Communications Institute (ITACA) of the UPV and the Chemical Technology Institute (ITQ), mixed centre of the UPV and CSIC, is the production of green hydrogen (produced without emitting greenhouse gases) from water, for industrial and transportation uses.As noted by the ITQ and ITACA team, it is a technology with great potential for the automotive sector, specifically for cars fuelled by fuel cells and hybrids or large vehicles such as trains or ships. But also for the chemical industry, metallurgy, the ceramic sector or the production of fertilisers, among many other sectors. “This method will make it possible to transform renewable electricity, typically of solar or wind origin, into added value products and green fuels. It has countless uses and we hope that new uses emerge for the storing of energy, developing new materials and chemical production,” highlights José Manuel Catalá, researcher at the ITACA institute of the UPV.In the article published in Nature Energy, the researchers also provide a technical and economic study that shows that this technology would make it possible to obtain high energetic efficiency, and that the cost of the facilities to carry out the hydrogen production process are very competitive compared to conventional technologies.
Ultra-fast charging of batteries… and space exploration
The UPV and CSIC team is studying other future uses for this technology, and is currently focusing its efforts on its use for the ultra-fast charging of batteries “Our technology could enable a practically instantaneous decrease in the size of the electrode (metallic anode) that stores energy. In other words, we would go from a layer-based progressive charging process, which can take hours, to a simultaneous process in the entire electrolyte, which would make it possible to charge a battery in a few seconds,” says José Manuel Catalá.
Another use would be the direct generation of oxygen with microwaves, which opens a broad spectrum of new uses. “One specific use would be the direct production of oxygen with extra-terrestrial rocks, which could have a key role in the future exploration and colonisation of the Moon, Mars or other rock bodies of the solar system,” concludes José Manuel Serra.
A short history of the discovery
The team of researchers observed that when ionic materials were being treated with microwaves, the materials displayed unusual changes in their properties, especially their electronic conductivity, changes that did not happen when they were heated conventionally. “Our curiosity to understand these sudden changes in their electrical properties made us dig deeper, designing new experiments, new microwave reactors and to apply other analytical techniques,” explains José Manuel Catalá.
The team from the ITACA and ITQ institutes verified that microwaves interact with these materials by accelerating the electrons and giving way to the release of molecules of oxygen from their structure (which is also called reduction). This change manifested itself specifically with sudden alterations to the conductivity at relatively low temperatures (approximately 300ºC). “This semi-balanced state is maintained while microwaves are applied, but tends to revert back by way of reoxygenation (reoxidation) when microwaves cease being applied. We soon realised the great practical potential of this discovery, especially at a juncture such as the one we are in today, of progressive decarbonisation, which is required to reach the goal of the European Union being climactically neutral in 2050, an economy with zero net greenhouse gas emissions,” concludes José Manuel Serra.
The Latest Updates from Bing News & Google News
Go deeper with Bing News on:
Microwaves produce hydrogen
- Welding technique strengthens 3D-printed partson November 23, 2020 at 4:00 pm
The combination of a carbon nanotube composite coating and microwave-based welding produces stronger 3D ... integrates the electromagnetic welding process with the printer, are produced in-house. It ...
- Recent Developments in Sterilization Technologyon November 22, 2020 at 4:00 pm
The majority of sterile goods produced in the medical device industry and in healthcare ... Medical instrumentation can be sterilized through a hydrogen peroxide gas plasma process with the Sterrad ...
- Physicists Pin Down the Nuclear Reaction Just After the Big Bangon November 22, 2020 at 12:00 am
The reaction involves deuterium, a form of hydrogen consisting of one proton ... This process released radiation called the cosmic microwave background that provides a snapshot of the universe ...
- Advanced atomic clock makes a better dark matter detectoron November 12, 2020 at 12:29 pm
The JILA team used a strontium lattice clock and a hydrogen maser (a microwave version of a laser ... mass although the maser was less stable and produced noisier signals than the strontium ...
- Researchers discover a new way to produce hydrogen using microwaveson November 11, 2020 at 7:27 am
The technology developed and patented by the UPV and CSIC is based on the phenomenon of the microwave reduction ... is the production of green hydrogen (produced without emitting greenhouse ...
Go deeper with Google Headlines on:
Microwaves produce hydrogen
Go deeper with Bing News on:
- Rother Valley MP Alexander Stafford wants region's industrial heartlands to be 'Britain's Hydrogen Valley'on November 26, 2020 at 4:59 am
A Yorkshire MP has pledged to create “Britain’s Hydrogen Valley” in one of the former industrial heartlands of the region.
- How the vision for the UK's first zero carbon industrial cluster is taking shapeon November 23, 2020 at 8:23 am
Government and industry provided a unique behind-the-scenes update on progress towards the decarbonisation of the UK's industrial clusters in the Creating a Zero Carbon Industrial Cluster webinar, hos ...
- Investing in decarbonisation is a once-in-a-generation opportunityon November 23, 2020 at 8:11 am
Transition to a low-carbon economy presents a significant opportunity to invest in a multi-year structural-growth trend while also helping to tackle an existential crisis ...
- 'Understanding govt’s 10-point plan for a green industrial revolution'on November 20, 2020 at 10:13 am
"The investment announced and the newly formed Jet Zero Council demonstrate that partnership between government and the private sector will be needed" ...
- We need a real Green Industrial Revolutionon November 20, 2020 at 3:45 am
Labour and the Tories aren't prepared for a real green industrial revolution. Here's what it should include. How we recover to the COVID-19 pandemic will determine our economic settlement for the next ...