Image credit – H. Dai, Yun Kuang, Michael Kenney

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When it comes to sustainable sources of energy, hydropower is one of the ways that harnesses nature to help generate clean and sustainable sources of energy. We have also seen how some scientists in the past have explored the idea of using seawater to generate hydroelectricity.

Unfortunately using seawater to generate hydrogen fuel has proven to be a bit more difficult. This is due the salt in seawater which can corrode the tech used to create hydrogen fuel, which is why purified water is still used. However according to researchers at Stanford (via Engadget), they think that they might have figured out a way.

To create hydrogen fuel, the process of electrolysis is used which splits the water, but as we said, the salt in seawater can corrode splitting systems. To combat this issue, the Stanford researchers have layered nickel-iron hydroxide and nickel sulfide on top of a nickel foam core. This will help slow down the decay of the metal underneath it, allowing it to keep working.

While current splitting systems can turn seawater into hydrogen fuel, it is estimated that it probably lasts for about 12 hours before it becomes too corroded to be used. However with this new coating, it is expected to last for thousands of hours. It might be a while before we are truly able to harness the potential of seawater, but this definitely feels like a step in the right direction.

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