Hydrogen fuel is one of the most promising alternatives to fossil fuels with virtually zero emissions of harmful combustion products. The problem is that hydrogen (H2) is obtained as a result of a process known as “methane evaporation”, in which, alas, CO2 is the main factor of global warming .
Daniel Esposito, associate professor of the Department of Chemical Engineering at the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences of Columbia University, together with his colleagues, developed a technology for electrolysis of water (separation into hydrogen and oxygen O2) without CO2 emissions. The experimental installation created by them under the name “floating photovoltaic cell” will become a prototype of equipment for the production of hydrogen on an industrial scale. The industrial plant will be in the open sea, outwardly resembling a floating floating oil platform.
The device is a unique configuration of electrodes that separate and collect hydrogen and oxygen, taking into account the buoyancy of their bubbles in the water. The system does not require pumping the liquid inside the device, resulting in a clean 99% hydrogen.
As yet, Esposito’s laboratory facility is not ready for testing in the marine environment. However, in the future, scientists intend to improve its design and make it more efficient and productive.
“There are a lot of possible technological solutions in the field of future energy, although so far only in theory,” explains Daniel Esposito. “Our task is to create scalable and economical technologies that convert sunlight into useful energy that can be stored in the dark.”