Turning seawater into fuel

Technology
Scientists predict that cars and homes will one day be powered by water-splitting devices and hydrogen fuel cells.

WOLLONGONG - Australian scientists have made ground-breaking progress that might help resolve electricity supply challenges in the future.

Scientists have discovered a new way to split seawater into hydrogen and oxygen, using these gases as fuel.

The group predicts cars and homes will one day be powered by water-splitting devices and hydrogen fuel cells.

“Given the recent developments and the abundance of seawater, it's interesting to think that just a bucket full of this material could provide the energy needs for a household for a day”, said Professor Gordon Wallace of the University of Wollongong.

Scientists long knew they can obtain hydrogen and oxygen from water, but it's not easy and seawater also contains impurities.

To achieve this latest breakthrough, scientists observed the way it happens in nature and developed a flexible polymer film that mimics the process in leaves.

It requires only a small electrical current to run, because it harnesses the power of sunlight to split the seawater.     

-eNCA

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