Seawater: The Future of Sustainable Green Hydrogen

Seawater has been discovered to be the Future Sustainable Green Hydrogen, an astonishing feat by discovering a cost-effective, energy-efficient method that splits seawater to produce sustainable green hydrogen. While splitting the sea sounds somewhat biblical in proportion, the team, led by Professor Shizhang Qiao and Associate Professor Yao Zheng from the School of Chemical Engineering at the University of Adelaide, reports the practical and direct electrolysis of seawater that has not been acidified or alkalized, which in turn achieves long-term stability.

Sustainable Electrolysis

Electrolysis refers to the process of splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen by introducing an electronic current or charge, which is typically done in a device known as an electrolyzer. Water splitting electrolysis offers a promising route toward sustainable green hydrogen production a process that typically requires the use of a catalyst. This setup takes an electrical power source which is then connected to two electrodes made up of catalytic materials which are immersed in the water. Hydrogen then appears at the cathode, where electrons enter the water, and oxygen at the anode. Conventional catalysts used in electrolysis are usually precious rare-earth metals such as platinum and iridium, both of which help produce renewable hydrogen, but these can be expensive and hard to acquire due to their scarcity.

Seawater Feedstock

Using seawater as the feedstock demonstrates another key benefit of the innovative process, as typically freshwater is used as a feedstock for electrolysis. However, freshwater is becoming increasingly scarce due to factors such as industrial pollution and climate change. This is why researchers are now turning to alternative water solutions and taking seawater as a feedstock, particularly in regions with long exposed coastlines and plenty of sunlight. However, seawater is considered impure due to its high salinity compared to freshwater, which can lead to increased maintenance costs for equipment used in the electrolysis process. Usually, such impure water would be treated before the process begins to prevent corrosion and preserve the system’s life span.

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