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Israeli Researchers succeed in producing ‘highly efficient, low-cost green hydrogen’

Green Hydrogen

Green Hydrogen (Wiki Commons)

Researchers from Tel Aviv University have succeeded in producing “green” hydrogen using green electricity — the hydrogen is produced without air pollution, with a high level of efficiency, utilizing a biocatalyst. Hydrogen is a necessary raw material for both agriculture and industry, but 95 percent of the hydrogen produced in the world today is “black” or “gray” — produced from coal or natural gas and emitting 9-12 tons of carbon dioxide for every ton of hydrogen.

Green hydrogen is hydrogen produced by using renewable energy to power the electrolysis of water. It is the cleanest and most sustainable form of hydrogen production. The process of electrolysis uses electricity to split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen. When the electricity is generated from renewable sources, such as solar or wind power, the resulting hydrogen is emissions-free.

The name “green hydrogen” is derived from the fact that it is produced using renewable energy sources. It is often contrasted with “grey hydrogen,” which is produced from fossil fuels. Grey hydrogen production releases significant amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

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Green hydrogen can be used for a variety of purposes, including fueling vehicles, generating electricity, and producing heat. The global market for green hydrogen is still in its early stages, but it is expected to grow rapidly in the coming years.

Green hydrogen has a number of potential benefits. It can be used to decarbonize sectors that are difficult to electrify, such as heavy industry and transportation and be used to store renewable energy, making it available when it is needed. It can also be used to produce ammonia, a fertilizer that is essential for food production.

However, there are also some challenges associated with green hydrogen production. For example, the cost of production is still relatively high and the infrastructure for producing and distributing green hydrogen is not yet well-developed.

Despite these challenges, green hydrogen is seen as a promising new energy source with the potential to help us achieve net-zero emissions. As the cost of production comes down and the infrastructure is developed, green hydrogen is likely to play an increasingly important role in the global energy mix.

As for this new method for producing green hydrogen, it was developed by doctoral student Itzhak Grinberg and Dr. Oren Ben-Zvi, under the guidance of Prof. Iftach Yacoby of the School of Plant Sciences and Food Security at the Faculty of Life Sciences and Prof. Lihi Adler-Abramovich of the School of Dental Medicine and the Center for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology. The promising research results were published in the prominent journal Carbon Energy, focusing on advanced materials and technology for clean energy and CO2 emission reduction.

“Hydrogen is very rare in the atmosphere,” explains Itzhak Grinberg, “although it is produced by enzymes in microscopic organisms, which receive the energy for this from photosynthesis processes. In the lab, we “electrify” those enzymes, that is, an electrode provides the energy instead of the sun. The result is a particularly efficient process, with no demand for extreme conditions, that can utilize electricity from renewable sources such as solar panels or wind turbine. However, the enzyme ‘runs away’ from the electric charge, so it needs to be held in place through chemical treatment. We found a simple and efficient way to attach the enzyme to the electrode and utilize it.”

The researchers used a hydrogel (a water-based gel) to attach the enzyme to the electrode, and were able to produce green hydrogen using a biocatalyst, and with over 90 percent efficiency; that is, over 90 percent of the electrons introduced into the system were deposited in the hydrogen without any secondary processes.

“Today, ‘green’ hydrogen is produced primarily through electrolysis, which requires precious and rare metals such as platinum along with water distillation, which makes the green hydrogen up to 15 times more expensive than the polluting ‘grey’ one, says Dr. Oren Ben-Zvi. “We hope that in the future, it will be possible to employ our method commercially, to lower the costs, and to make the switch towards using green hydrogen in industry, agriculture, and as a clean energy source.”



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