Archive for the ‘Renewable Energy’ Category
So…I am always looking for ways to recycle, but I will have to say this takes it to a whole new level. I guess this means we really can recycle or reuse anything. Believe it or not … US researchers have developed an efficient way of producing hydrogen from urine – a feat that could not only fuel the cars of the future, but could also help clean up municipal wastewater and save gallons of water daily. This sure gives “stopping to use the restroom and fill up the tank” a whole new meaning.
Hydrogen has become an increasingly attractive way to power cars. A major stumbling block in my eyes would be the production of hydrogen from water. When millions of commuters switch to fueling their cars with hydrogen (derived from water) we would be creating a more serious crisis. Gerardine Botte of Ohio University may now have found the answer we’ve been looking for, using an electrolytic approach to produce hydrogen from urine. We are all aware of the abundance of urine. Urine has to be one of the largest wastes on Earth, imagine if we could turn that into a resource, and at a fraction of the cost of producing hydrogen from water.
Urine’s major component is urea, which incorporates four hydrogen atoms per molecule. Botte used electrolysis to break the molecule apart, developing an inexpensive new nickel-based electrode to selectively and efficiently oxidise the urea. To break the molecule down, because these atoms are less tightly bonded, only a voltage of 0.37V needs to be applied across the cell, that is 1/3 the voltage needed to make hydrogen from water.
The researchers see a much wider application for this technology in wastewater treatment plants by generating hydrogen while treating the waste simultaneously. Can you imagine how many problems this would solve? I will keep watching and hoping for new advancements on this technology.
Source: Royal Society of Chemistry