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Italy Uses Lasers and Water to Produce Hydrogen

Now, this may sounds like something out of an old episode of Star Trek (the ones where William Shatner plays James T. Kirk), but Italian scientists today have discovered a way to create hydrogen using lasers and water. Researchers at Florence University have had success firing their laser beams at water to separate it into hydrogen and oxygen.

According to one of the scientists Roberto Bini, ”The light excites the water molecules, which produce hydroxyl radicals and hydrogen atoms.” One of the initial problems the scientists faced was that this state of separation in only good for a couple quadrillionths of a second before the radicals and atoms recombine.

So, the scientists decided to apply intense pressure, up to 1,000 atmospheres to the water and then hit it with the lasers. What they found was that the separation of the particles lasts far longer before recombining.

The researchers believe that one day sunlight itself could be substituted for the lasers and create hydrogen directly. In February 2008 I had talked about a group of scientists in Australia who know this to be true already who put up a direct solar to hydrogen plant that involved heating the water to 1,000 degrees Celsius before cracking it with electricity.

Perhaps combining both technologies of applying either lasers or electricity under both intense heat and pressure would yield even more optimal results? But, one thing is for sure is that as long as research and development of hydrogen production methods continues, a cost effective method of producing cheap hydrogen on a massive scale is just around the corner.

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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2 comments

  1. “a cost effective method of producing cheap hydrogen on a massive scale is just around the corner.”

    Did you mean “clean hydrogen”? A cost effective method of producing relatively cheap hydrogen on a massive scale is 90 year old technology….

    And of course, “clean” is all relative too…when compared with gasoline powered ICE cars, cars using hydrogen from steam methane reformers reduce ghg emissions 60%…

  2. admin

    I guess I should have said “clean and cheap” so thanks for the correction.

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