Image credit – Justin Bui / Columbia Engineering


When it comes to renewable energy sources, we have seen how we can draw power from the sun in the form of solar energy, from the wind, from water, and so on. All are viable sources of sustainable energy and we have seen various companies try to incorporate them into their products or operations.

Hydrogen is one of those renewable resources, but one of the ways that is currently used to producing hydrogen fuel can actually end up negating its “green” benefits, at least until more recently where engineers from Columbia University have managed to come up with a way to harvest hydrogen fuel from the ocean.

This comes in the form of floating rig, which in turn is powered by solar energy, meaning that in theory it should have no problems sustaining itself indefinitely. How the rig works is that through the process of electrolysis, it can split water into hydrogen and oxygen, and the device that the engineers came up with does away with the need for a membrane, which tend to be fragile which in turn limits its application.

According to Jack Davis, one of the engineers and first author on the paper describing the device, “Being able to safely demonstrate a device that can perform electrolysis without a membrane brings us another step closer to making seawater electrolysis possible. These solar fuels generators are essentially artificial photosynthesis systems, doing the same thing that plants do with photosynthesis, so our device may open up all kinds of opportunities to generate clean, renewable energy.”

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