When I first heard that researchers were developing for a way for water and sand to produce hydrogen, it gave me pause. If it were this easy, wouldn’t all of the beaches of the world be producing massive amounts of hydrogen?
But, of course, it’s not quite this simple. A company called Isis Innovation has discovered that grinding sand (silica) into nano scale powder is the key to achieving a reaction to split water into hydrogen and oxygen at temperatures of 158 – 194 F.
The reaction stops quickly once an oxide layer is formed. The scientists have even discovered a material to encapsulate the nano-scale silica so that it won’t react with moisture in the air to create hydrogen.
One of the biggest advantages of the sand and water method for creating hydrogen is that the source materials are abundant and cheap (low grade sand can be used). The only byproduct of the new process is the oxidized sand which can be recycled.
The inventors of this hydrogen on demand system see many uses from powering laptops to powering fuel cell cars and other vehicles. For powering cars, the hydrogen can be produced locally, so large transportation systems for compressed hydrogen gas will not be needed.