New advancement in water electrolysis to allow for more affordable and reliable renewable energy

According to AZO Cleantech, a recent advancement in water electrolysis can be the key to renewable energy becoming more affordable and reliable. The advancement in water electrolysis was made by scientists from Los Alamos National Laboratory and Washington State University, who have reportedly created a process that allows for water electrolysis to be cheaper and easier, according to Science Daily. Water electrolysis, also known as water splitting, is “a process that uses electricity to split H2O into hydrogen and oxygen” (Science Daily). Water electrolysis is used to create oxygen at the International Space Station and it is used in synergy for renewable energy systems, claims the Department of Energy. This process should allow for wind and solar farms to be more efficient, even when the sun is not shining or the wind is not blowing. When there is an excess of sunlight or wind, the extra energy can be used in the new water electrolysis system to create hydrogen, which can then be stored, therefore conserving energy.~

Previously, water electrolysis was expensive to perform due to the need for precious metals and an acidic environment. To perform this process before, one would need a precious metal catalyst, such as platinum or iridium, as well as a proton exchange membrane water electrolyzer. This electrolyzer produces hydrogen at a very high rate when it is with the precious metal catalyst which is why it is so widely used. But, Yu Seung Kim and Yuehe Lin have created another process that is cheaper and uses a catalyst from less precious metals in a basic environment. Kim and Lin used an anion exchange membrane electrolyzer with a catalyst based on iron or nickel. Although this process is not as effective by itself, Kim and Lin created an electrode binder that is a hydroxide-conducting polymer material capable of binding catalysts. This allows for the process to be about as efficient as the previous process, yet significantly cheaper. ~

In theory, this new cheap process of water electrolysis is going to allow for renewable energy and other industries to become cheaper and more reliable in the future. ~

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