Less costly methods for producing oxygen from water have been developed by researchers in the US and Australia, potentially enabling increased use of fuel cells to produce energy in future.
Fuel cells have been touted as an important future source of energy, combining hydrogen and oxygen to produce power without any damaging pollution and often in the press for all the right reasons.
While expensive platinum has previously been used as a catalyst in the process of producing oxygen, new research seems to suggest the utilisation of more commonly used chemicals and the study from both the US and the Southern Hemisphere comes as something of a breakthrough.
Chemist Daniel Nocera of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is thought to have added cobalt and phosphates to neutral water and then inserted a conductive-glass electrode. When the researchers applied an electrical current, a dark film formed on the electrode from which tiny pockets of oxygen began to appear, eventually building into a stream of bubbles.
Such a development raises the possibility of using solar energy to generate electricity in daytime and using excess power to get oxygen from water.
In the second report, researchers led by Bjorn Winther-Jensen at the Australian Centre for Electromaterials Science, developed an electrode that consists of a conducting polymer on a Goretex membrane. It was reported that the large surface area of the membrane allows oxygen production at rates close to those of platinum electrodes, says a report by the Associated Press.
FuelCell Energy today said it will relaunch its sub-MW distributed generation solution to the European market with the SureSource 250 and SureSource 400 fuel cell systems.
Month on month, the gasworld website is the market-leading news portal for the global industrial gas sector, growing at an unprecedented rate and keeping its readers at the forefront of breaking news, insightful analysis and must-see features across the industry. Launched in 2004 and continually evolving, it is the only independent online news, views and intelligence portal for the global industrial gas community and the larger end-user markets – and home to the ever-increasing range of gasworld platforms.
To find out more about gasworld's advertising opportunities click here.