Economical hydrogen power has been the holy grail of the alternative energy world for a long time. The idea is simple – extract the hydrogen out of water, burn the hydrogen to produce energy, and the only by product is water. This uses a readily available source of raw material (i.e. water), produces clean energy and a by product that is environmentally safe for disposal. The only catch until now has been that the cost and energy required to extract the hydrogen has been too great to make it viable.
According to an article in Gizmag, a Japanese company (FUKAI) has developed a new process that will make the production of hydrogen from water viable. The process involves adding aluminum or magnesium to boiling “functional water,” a proprietary substance that can be produced simply by running regular tap water through a natural mineral-containing “functional water generation unit.” The bonds that join hydrogen and oxygen molecules in regular water, which ordinarily require some energy to break, are weakened in functional water.
This is a great step forward on many fronts and hopefully we will see cars that run on water without the use of petrol or electricity.
There is a really good overview of the technology here.
- An Innovative Technology to Generate Hydrogen from Water – Enabling Hydrogen Generation at the World’s Lowest Cost (prnewswire.com)
- Hydrogen Highway One Station Closer To Reality (wired.com)