What If We Powered the Planet With Seawater?
The research team has refined the seawater electrolysis technology by developing an anode coating that protects the metal from the harmful effects of chlorine and improves the efficiency of the system.
The essence of electrolysis is to immerse two electrodes in water, where under the action of an electric current, its molecules decay into hydrogen and oxygen. However, existing methods of splitting require the use of a purified liquid, since in salty seawater, chlorine ions quickly corrode the metal anode, drastically reducing its service life. Recently scientists from Stanford University found way to solve this problem.
They found that if the anode was coated with layers that had negative charges, they would repel chlorine ions and slow down the corrosion of the base metal. The researchers applied nickel-iron hydroxide on top of the nickel sulfide covering the nickel foam core. Nickel foam acts as a conductor, while nickel and iron hydroxide breaks down the water. During electrolysis, nickel sulfide becomes a negatively charged layer that protects the anode.
According to the team, no protective coverage in such conditions the device will work for about 12 hours, and after there will be nothing left of him. However, additional the layer increases the service life of the system by over 1000 hours.
Wherein the need to weaken the electric current disappears to inhibit corrosion. During the tests, the scientists passed 10 times more electricity through their multilayer device than in standard installations, which accelerated the splitting and significantly increased system efficiency.
The team also showcased a solar powered concept, but it is also suitable for wind turbines. The researchers argue that the technology can be used not only to produce hydrogen fuel, but also to create mobile devices for the production of oxygen. For example, so that divers or submarines do not needed to rise to the surface to replenish air supplies.
Chemists have also recently improved reversible proton-ceramic electrochemical cell for power generation and the production of hydrogen fuel, which, thanks to a unique catalyst, works with an efficiency of 98%.
text: Ilya Bauer, photo: Stanford University