Research into several new hydrogen production methods caught my eye this week that may help solve the puzzle of producing massive amounts of H2 for cars. None of the methods mentioned involve the steam reforming of natural gas, which is the most popular method of hydrogen production today.
At the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, researchers have discovered a novel way to create hydrogen using bacteria. The university has an 800-liter plant as part of a pilot project that uses a strain of bacteria that produces 40-percent more hydrogen than other known strains.
French researchers are working on a method to replace costly platinum with cobalt that acts as both a photosensitiser and catalyst in the production of hydrogen. The idea is to replace expensive metals such as platinum in electrolysers and fuel cells, bringing down the total costs for devices that produce and use hydrogen.
And, in Carroll County, Indiana, Kurt Koehler has invented a novel approach to producing hydrogen from water. Koehler’s invention uses an aluminum alloy, that needs to be recharged when spent, to produce hydrogen and he’s looking to use wind energy to do the recharging.
While many people are looking for one dominant method of producing massive amounts of hydrogen to emerge in the future, for now the field is wide open. And, the most likely scenario going forward is that no one method will dominate, but that many different methods collectively will be used the create the hydrogen necessary for a sustainable future.