Ikuko Akimoto and colleagues have decided to go high tech and low cost in order to produce hydrogen. While other scientists are using expensive catalysts and electrolysis to break the bonds of water, Akimoto decided to use laser pulses plus high grade, low cost carbon and charcoal to create hydrogen.
According to the American Chemical Society, “Based on hints from research decades ago, the scientists decided to check out the ability of carbon powder and charcoal powder, which are inexpensive and readily available, to help split hydrogen gas from oxygen in water.
“Akimoto’s team tested carbon and charcoal powders by adding them to water and beaming a laser in nanosecond pulses at the mixtures. The experiment generated hydrogen at room temperature without the need for costly catalysts or electrodes. Its success provides an alternative, inexpensive method for producing small amounts of hydrogen from water.”
The full report appears in the Journal of Physical Chemistry C and gives another alternative for creating hydrogen from water. How much energy the laser consumes is unknown at this point, but if less than comparable electrolysis methods, then this will be of much interest going forward.