Scientists from Spain have found a catalyst that can use sunlight to power an important industrial reaction for the production of hydrogen at ambient temperatures.
Hydrogen is a clean and efficient alternative energy carrier to fossil fuels. However, as hydrogen does not typically exist by itself in nature, it must be released from compounds that contain it.
Most hydrogen is produced by the steam reforming reaction. Methane reacts with steam at high temperatures to produce hydrogen (H2), carbon monoxide (CO) and some carbon dioxide (CO2). In a subsequent reaction, called the water–gas shift (WGS) reaction, CO and steam react further to produce CO2 and more H2. This step requires temperatures around 350°C and either an iron oxide-based or a copper-based catalyst.
Interested to know more?
Read the article in EES:
Photocatalytic water gas shift using visible or simulated solar light for the efficient, room-temperature hydrogen generation
Francesc Sastre, Marica Oteri, Avelino Corma and Hermenegildo García
Energy Environ. Sci., 2013, Advance Article