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Hydrogen from Seawater Using Molybdenum Oxo Catalyst

Researcher Jeffrey Long and his colleagues at UC Berkeley have discovered a cost effective way to make hydrogen from seawater using a molybdenum-oxo catalyst and a mercury electrode. This is not Long’s first foray into H2 either as back in 2005, he was working on developing hydrogen storage materials for use in cars.

In September 2007, I had talked about using radio waves to burn seawater to produce hydrogen. Then in March 2009, I had talked about producing hydrogen from seawater with the use of magnets.

The key features of the UC Berkeley discovery includes, “Significantly, Long’s catalyst is also stable in the presence of impurities that can be found in the ocean, meaning that sea water can be used without pre-treatment. The team used a sample of California sea water in the system and found the results to be similar to the results obtained for water at neutral pH. In addition, no other electrolyte is necessary when using sea water, which helps reduce costs and removes any need for organic acids or solvents that could degrade the catalyst.”

Scientists have long been experimenting with different methods of using seawater to produce hydrogen (ocean buoys, deep sea underwater turbines and wind turbines have also been researched). Since most of the Earth’s surface is covered with saltwater, the prospect of using this vast resource is enticing.

Of course if Long’s technology does scale up into commercialization, then perhaps a mobile seawater-to-hydrogen station would be advisable especially in light of disasters such as the recent oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico which would most assuredly muck up the system. But, nonetheless, the UC Berkeley research is encouraging as a highly efficient and low cost method of producing hydrogen from the Earth’s most abundant resource which is water.

About Hydro Kevin Kantola

Hydro Kevin Kantola
I'm a hydrogen car blogger, editor and publisher interested in documenting the history and the progression of hydrogen cars, vehicles and infrastructure worldwide.

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6 comments

  1. Michael Robinson

    With all the information that this blog has about hydrogen production and storage technologies the obvious question is one of when? When will the hydrogen economy be fully realized in the U.S.? Is the technology for producing and storing hydrogen and converting that hydrogen back to
    water in a fuel cell to produce electrical power ready for prime time yet?

    If today the federal government put a 10 year moratorium on gasoline and diesel use for land based transportation and essentially replaced all the 10% ethanol requirements that some states have adopted with 10% hydrogen requirements, would the hydrogen economy materialize fully?

    I know that fuel cells are lasting for 50k miles in the lab, is that old information yet? Can any predictions be made yet concerning cost and feasibility?

    If 10 years is too short a period, how about 15-20 years?

    Between the technology in this article and R.E.T. technology which can be set up close to where the hydrogen is needed, hydrogen production looks to be an easily solved problem. Hydrogen storage can be solved easily as well using the laser hydride storage systems that plasma kinetics is working on.

    Could the hydrogen economy be realized by advancing stationary fuel cells for providing supplemental and back up power?

    Obama will be out of office in 2 years and there will be a chance to replace him with a leader who is willing to challenge the nation on hydrogen production and use.

  2. Sabri Naibaho, SE.

    I am so happy knowing this new catalyst (Molybdenum oxo). I am from Indonesia, Jambi sumatera. I am the inventor of OWEC which can generate electricity until to Gigawatt plant near the beach. If we can combine these two invention, we can hope these will be a great solution for the world energy needed soon. Really, we can produce with unlimited hydrogen fuel for the world. I need respond from you. Thank you.

    Sabri Naibaho, SE Indonesia.

  3. how much the machine cost? to prods hydrogen from salt water

  4. i need to buy one of you machine for my project can you give-me more inf…thanks

  5. admin

    We don’t sell these machine. Go to the original article and follow the links for more info.

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