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Hydrogen Splitting: Potential for Clean, Renewable Energy
Hydrogen splitting, also known as water splitting or electrolysis, is a process that separates water into its two elements: hydrogen and oxygen. This is done through by using an electric current that passes through the water, causing a chemical reaction that separates its atoms.
The chemical equation for this process is: 2H2O(l) → 2H2(g) + O2(g)
In this reaction, water is oxidised (loses electrons) to produce oxygen gas, while hydrogen gas is produced by the reduction (gain of electrons) of water molecules. The overall reaction is described as “energetically unfavourable” which means it requires an external source of electrical energy to drive it. This process usually takes place in an electrolysis cell that has a positive and negative end. When an electric current passes through the water in the cell, one end of the cell loses electrons to form oxygen gas while the other end gains electrons to make hydrogen gas. There are a range of factors that influence the effectiveness of this process. They include the type and concentration of electrolyte, the size and shape of the electrodes, the applied voltage, and the temperature and pressure of the environment in which the reaction takes place.
For a long time, it has been studied as a potential source of renewable energy, as the hydrogen gas that it produces can be used as a clean fuel. However, right now the process is not very efficient, as it requires a significant amount of external energy (as mentioned earlier) to split the water molecules.
There are many methods that have been tried out, including alkaline electrolysis, proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolysis, and solid oxide electrolysis. And while each method has its own advantages and disadvantages, researchers are getting closer and closer to finding a way to make the process more efficient and affordable.
Despite this, Hydrogen Spliting is very promising. In fact, in some industries, such as power and transportation, are already making use of Hydrogen fuel cells. Further development that would allow this fuel to come from renewable sources (solar or wind power) would make this technology even more sustainable and widely used.
One other interesting application that makes hydrogen fuel even more appealing is how it can be used in energy storage. Specifically, excess energy from renewable energy sources can be used to produce hydrogen which can be stored and used as fuel whenever necessary.
In conclusion, hydrogen splitting has the potential to be a key aspect in the world’s shift to a future of more sustainable energy. As it’s not yet in the position to be used on a large, global scale, continued research and development is crucial to improve the efficiency and affordability of the process, thus allowing us to make the most of hydrogen as a clean, renewable energy source.
By- Abhiram Boddu