New Method Produces Hydrogen at Lower Temperatures

Waseda University (Tokyo) scientists have developed a new fast and irreversible method for producing hydrogen that requires less energy and takes place at lower temperatures. The innovation, according to the research team, is expected to contribute to the spread of fuel cell systems for automobiles and homes.

Hydrogen is typically extracted from methane and steam using a nickel catalyst at temperatures of over 700°C, a temperature that creates significant challenges for widespread use.

The Waseda University team, led by Professor Yasushi Sekine, has reduced the required temperature to levels as low as 150~200°C. Its method, described in Nature’s Scientific Reports, reduces the energy input needed to produce hydrogen fuel, extends catalyst life, reduces the cost of construction materials and reduces the complexity of heat-management or cooling systems.

The research, according to the team, is applicable not only to hydrogen production but also to many consumer products since their method makes it possible to lower the temperature for various reactions involving hydrogen or water. Scientists, for example, are already using the process in research for improving energy efficiency in automobiles by creating reactions between exhaust gases and fuel at low temperature.