By producing a sound wave during the electrolysis process, the researchers say it prevents the build-up of hydrogen and oxygen bubbles on the electrodes, offering improved conductivity and stability.

Report first-author, Yemima Ehrnst (pictured), explained, “Electrode materials used in electrolysis suffer from hydrogen and oxygen gas build-up, forming a gas layer that minimises the electrodes’ activity and significantly reduces its performance.

“The electrical output of the electrolysis with sound waves was about 14 times greater than electrolysis without them, for a given input voltage. This was equivalent to the amount of hydrogen produced.”

Associate Prof. Amgad Rezk at RMIT, said the team’s innovation could solve electrolyser material cost changes, eliminating the need to use corrosive electrolytes and expensive electrodes.

“One of the main challenges of electrolysis is the high cost of electrode materials used, such as platinum or iridium,” said Rezk. “With sound waves making it much easier to extract hydrogen from water, it eliminates the need to use corrosive electrolytes and expensive electrodes such as platinum or iridium.”

H2 View understands, an Australia provisional patent application has been filed to protect the new technology, originally published in Advanced Energy Materials.

Additionally, the researchers believe the method could also aid energy saving in the green hydrogen production process. “With our method, we can potentially improve the conversion efficiency leading to a net-positive energy saving of 27%,” said Lead Senior Researcher, Prof. Leslie Yeo.

Despite the research team describing the innovation as promising, it has admitted it needs to overcome challenges with integrating the sound-wave device with existing electrolysers to scale-up the work.


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