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Old March 24th, 2019, 02:36 PM
wellis wellis is offline
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Default Scientists Are Now Transforming Saltwater Into Hydrogen Fuel
Thanks to Stanford researchers, there might be a new recipe for hydrogen fuel: saltwater, electrodes and solar power. The researchers have developed a proof-of-concept for separating hydrogen and oxygen gas from seawater via electricity. It's far cheaper than the current methods, which rely on creating hydrogen fuel from purified water.

Breaking up a substance like water to create hydrogen and oxygen is called electrolysis and is a scientific technique centuries old. It was first codified by British scientific legend Michael Faraday, whose two laws of electrolysis from 1834 still guide scientists today. With a power source connecting to two water-based electrodes, scientists can get hydrogen bubbles to come out of an end called an cathode, while oxygen comes out of an end called an anode.

That works fine for fresh water, but saltwater is trickier because of its ability to corrode electrodes with chloride, which would limit a system's lifespan. The trick for Hongjie Dai, a professor of chemistry at Stanford, and his team was a change in materials.

If the anode was coated with negative charges, the scientists realized, those layers repel chloride and temper the rate of decay in the underlying metal. They created a nickel foam core, and on top of that layered nickel-iron hydroxide and then nickel sulfide. The foam core acts a conductor, and the nickel-iron hydroxide starts the electrolysis.

Without the negative charges, a system like this would run for only 12 hours. "The whole electrode falls apart into a crumble," says Michael Kenney, a graduate student in the Dai lab and co-lead author on the paper, speaking in a press statement. "But with this layer, it is able to go more than a thousand hours."
I've only posted half of the article (no idea if you allow here to post a full article or not) but I find this really interesting.

It looks like one variant of wilderness refuelling could be around, but even if ship-based fusion reactors aren't a possibility in real-life or your particular Traveller/Cepheus Engine universe, I'm sure hydrogen still has uses for fuel cells and other such things?
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