North Carolina State University (NCSU), announced on Monday (May 23), that its researchers have developed a new, faster, cheaper and more efficient technique of extracting hydrogen from liquid carriers.

The newly developed technique applies a reusable photocatalyst and sunlight to extract hydrogen gas from its liquid carrier quickly and using less rhodium than existing techniques.

In the prototype reactor, the researchers were able to achieve a 99% yield, meaning that 99% of the hydrogen molecules were released from the liquid carrier, in three hours, the university claims.

Milad Abolhasani, Associate Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at NC State, and research author, said, “Previous research has shown that it is possible to use photocatalysts to release hydrogen gas from a liquid carrier using only sunlight.

“However, existing techniques for doing this were laborious, time consuming and required a significant amount of rhodium.”

The researchers have claimed that their reactor only requires 0.025% rhodium, in comparison to conventional batch reactors which need 1%.

NCSU says a key success of the technique is that it is a ‘continuous-flow’ reactor. Hydrogen-carrying liquid is pumped into one end of a tube, filled with grains of titanium oxide, some of which are coated with rhodium which lines the outer part of the tube.

The grains react with sunlight and the liquid carrier to release hydrogen gas. NCSU says the researchers engineered the system so that only the outer gains are coated with rhodium, to ensure the system uses as little rhodium as possible.

The flow system can run continuously for up to 72 hours before its efficiency decreases, where the catalyst can be cleaned within six hours before the system can restart.

H2 View understands NCSU has filed a provisional patent for the technology.

North American Hydrogen Summit

H2 View is taking its events platform to America’s original clean hydrogen hub of California. Together with the California Fuel Cell Partnership (CaFCP), we will stage our North American Hydrogen Summit in San Francisco on July 14-15.

As our summit theme Building Bridges: Hydrogen hubs and investment suggests, the event will explore the $8bn of funding announced to create at least four regional hydrogen hubs in the US. These hubs will turbo-charge the nation’s progress toward heavy trucking and industrial sectors that run without producing carbon pollution – and they may just provide the path forward to a hydrogen-fuelled future.

With California and Texas vying to be America’s hydrogen capital today, where are the hubs of tomorrow? Further still, what can other states, and countries, learn from California’s success story? And how can we build bridges to a successful flow of international investment?

Our early bird offer tickets are $1,000, for a limited time only. If you are a member of the CaFCP, be sure to grab your ticket at a discounted rate with a code that can be provided to you by the events team.

Full information about this event including attendance and sponsorship packages can be found here.