A new article in the journal Nature Communications titled “Hydrogen production from the air” reports how an international team of scientists successfully developed a method of producing hydrogen directly from water in the atmosphere using an electrolysis process powered by solar energy.
From the abstract:
” Here, we demonstrate a method of direct hydrogen production from the air, namely, in situ capture of freshwater from the atmosphere using hygroscopic electrolyte and electrolysis powered by solar or wind with a current density up to 574 mA cm−2. A prototype of such has been established and operated for 12 consecutive days with a stable performance at a Faradaic efficiency around 95%. This so-called direct air electrolysis (DAE) module can work under a bone-dry environment with a relative humidity of 4%, overcoming water supply issues and producing green hydrogen sustainably with minimal impact to the environment. The DAE modules can be easily scaled to provide hydrogen to remote, (semi-) arid, and scattered areas.”
Since water is everywhere in air, this system means that potentially hydrogen could be produced via electrolysis anywhere, even when liquid water is absent.
In an article in Newsweek, one of the team members, Gang Kevin Li, of The University of Melbourne stated:
“The ability to use moisture from air makes this DAE module applicable in remote, arid and semi-arid environments where the accessibility to fresh water is a big problem. Most areas on earth with high solar and wind potentials lack fresh water. For example, a desert is deemed a good place for solar power but no fresh water.”