Hydrogen is one of the most valuable and useful chemical elements. Several industries use this element as a reagent. Furthermore, environmentalists also use hydrogen for preservation purposes. Scientists have been working for a long time to find out ways to change solar energy into hydrogen.
The success of this invention will be great news in the world of science. Solar panels are one of the richest sources of energy. Therefore, many homes now have a solar panel fitted to get affordable electricity.
Thanks to KE Leuven’s bioscience engineers, it is now possible to create hydrogen directly from sunlight.
After a decade of elongated research, the engineers have stated their results. Moreover, they claim that industries can generate hydrogen from the moisture present in the air.
Besides, this solar panel can produce about 200-250 liters of hydrogen in a single day.
Above all, it is genuinely a notable achievement in the world of science.
Traditional Methods vs. New Method
There isn’t just one method to generate hydrogen. There are several methods, but they are not environment friendly.
When you create hydrogen through traditional solar panels, you lose a lot of energy. Solar panels usually convert 20% of solar energy into electrical energy. The conventional method of producing hydrogen by breaking water into its two elements takes up a lot of energy.
The loss of energy during the production of hydrogen was a big problem.
The KE Leuven engineers came up with a much better method of producing hydrogen. Therefore, they made a solar panel of 1.6m², which converted 15% of sunlight into hydrogen directly. The researchers call it “The hydrogen panel,” even though sunlight plays a significant role.
They achieved this conversion by utilizing the moisture in the air. This process is applicable even in desserts, even though they have less moisture.
If you fit about 20 hydrogen panels in your house, these panels can supply heat and electricity to the home. You can use this electricity and heat for the whole winter season.
Nowadays, industries produce hydrogen using oils. Furthermore, these industries produce grey hydrogen gas. This method is not healthy for our environment. But, scientists believe this will soon change.
“It’s a unique combination of physics and chemistry. In the beginning, the efficiency was only 0.1 percent, and barely any hydrogen molecules were formed. Today, you see them rising to the surface in bubbles. So that’s ten years of work—always making improvements, detecting problems. That’s how you get results.”
—Professor Johan Martens
The hydrogen panel is under testing in a distant town of Oud-Heverlee. This town is in Flemish Brabant. The chosen house is very well insulated, and the gas grid is not connected. In winters, it uses electricity from the grid.
Moreover, they will soon add about 20 panels to the house. More panels will get installed, depending upon the results obtained. So, these panels will store solar energy in the summer. Consequently, solar energy will get converted into heat and electricity in winters.
The purpose of this panel was to make heat and electricity affordable. The researchers say that there isn’t any expensive material used in these hydrogen panels.
Benefits of Hydrogen
Hydrogen plays a crucial role in several industries and the preservation of the environment. Here are few benefits of hydrogen:
- When hydrogen gets combined with oxygen, it generates electrical energy. Furthermore, Hydrogen fuel cells do not produce any greenhouse gases.
- There are numerous ways of producing hydrogen. It can be through gasoline, Methane, or water.
- The production of hydrogen from water is one of the most affordable methods. This method includes the process of electrolysis.
To conclude, solar energy is one of the most copious sources of energy available. The generation of hydrogen from solar energy is one of the most invaluable findings up till now. Scientists have been working on solar to hydrogen conversion since the 1970s. Finally, scientists have achieved the results.
The new technology is still under testing. If it is successful, there will be a lot less complicated in the hydrogen economy.