Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have discovered that energy waste in the form of small vibrations or noises can be used to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. This recapture of energy would create hydrogen fuel renewably and sustainably.
With the aid of ultrasonic vibrations, and a phenomenon called the piezoelectric effect, fibers at a nanoscale will split water using “… wind power, running water, or water wave action can be scavenged or harvested as a driving force for direct water splitting.”
Waterfalls and dams currently provide the largest noise and vibrations in which to collect energy for the nanoscale water splitting. But, if the fibers used in the splitting where to be ultrathin then less noise or vibrations could be used.
Imagine the possibilities that this would create if the scientists are able to fine tune their invention. The piezoelectrochemical effect could be generated from small babbly brooks and rivers and the energy could be doubly harnesses using hydroelectric energy at these same locations.
Hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, tremors, active volcanoes, could provide mass quantities of hydrogen. Other smaller sources would be airports, train stations, traffic noise, construction areas, indoor industrial areas such as machine shops, and to bring it home even vacuum cleaners and kitchen appliances could be harness for their noise and vibration to create hydrogen.
While this research is a ways off in development it does open up the possibilities for alternative ways to create hydrogen cleanly, renewably and sustainably for years to come.