Sustainable Generation of H2 by Water Splitting Using Magnet

Magnetic hydrogen generation!!! A commercially available weak magnet (100 mT) can enhance the efficiency of H2 evolution reaction by 150% in a commercial H2 generator to achieve the global energy demand towards the environmental sustainable alternatives of fossil fuel.

Most of the global energy demands (> 84%) are met from carbon-based resources fossil fuels leading to an exponential increase in CO2 emissions. The emission of such greenhouse gases and particulate matter has resulted in perceivable changes to global weather. Therefore, science and technologies are trying to deliver a clean and environment-friendly energy source over the past two decades. Molecular H2 has emerged as an alternative fuel, with a calorific value (150 MJkg-1) that far exceeds conventional gasoline (20 kJkg-1) and coal (35 MJkg-1). The combustion of H2 delivers clean water without any by-products, making it the ultimate clean energy source.

However, the atmospheric abundance of molecular H2 (350 ppbv) making it highly challenging for large-scale use. A proton exchange membrane is used to create the hydrogen gas from deionized water and a desiccant filtration stage is used to dry the gas in industries. The standard way to enhance the rate of H2 evolution is by modifying or developing new catalysts, which is a challenging path to apply to established generators. Application of an external magnet in such generator can be a great route to reduce the energy penalty. This magnetic effect on electrolyte solutions has been discovered first by Faraday, and later it was explained by Oliver through the interaction occurring at the interface called Lorentz force. The forces formed due to the gradient by concentration of paramagnetic materials, influence the reactions at the electrode-electrolyte interfaces. This magnetic field effect is independent of spin-selectivity of the reaction.

By increasing the conductivity through magnetic catalysts and prolonging the effect after the removal of magnet by using flexible carbon support, can attain the 150% enhancement. Such magnetic field is effective for both O2 and H2 generation by water splitting. A tiny magnet of 100-500 mT power can double the production rate without hampering the existing instrument panel or catalysts.

 More information: Premagnetized Carbon-Catalyst Interface Delivering 650% Enhancement in Electrocatalytic Kinetics of Hydrogen Evolution
Reaction, J. Saha, ACS Sustainable Chem. Eng. 2021, 9, 23, 7792–7802

Image courtesy of Jayeeta Saha


Group Leader

Jayeeta Saha, Lindau Alumna 2021