Graphic shows how electrolysis could produce hydrogen as a way to store renewable energy. During the day, solar panels supply surplus electricity for electrolysis, producing hydrogen. At night, hydrogen would be combined with oxygen from the air to generate electricity.( —Chemical engineers at Stanford have designed a catalyst that could help produce vast quantities of pure hydrogen through electrolysis – the process of passing electricity through water to break hydrogen loose from oxygen in H2O.

Today, pure hydrogen, or H2, is a major commodity chemical that is generally derived from natural gas. Tens of millions of tons of hydrogen are produced each year; industrial hydrogen is important in petroleum refining and fertilizer production.

Chemical engineering Professor Thomas Jaramillo and research associate Jakob Kibsgaard want to use electrolysis to do things such as producing H2 from water and using the process to store solar energy. But to industrialize water-splitting they must find a more cost-effective process.

Written by Chris Cesare
Read more at PHYS

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