Business is booming.

Scientists utilise 600% less energy to cook hydrogen from agricultural waste using the sun

By Ojugbele Omotunde

The rise in greenhouse gas emissions and climate change indicators have prompted a growing demand for transitioning to renewable energy sources, with hydrogen being a promising carbon-free option.

Researchers at the University of Illinois Chicago have created a process to turn water into hydrogen gas using solar energy and agricultural waste.

The method allows for producing sustainable, eco-friendly compounds by reducing the energy required to extract hydrogen by 600 per cent. The research was released in the journal Cell Reports Physical Science.

Although their manufacture requires a lot of energy, hydrogen fuels have promise as a clean energy source. Meenesh Singh, an engineer at UIC, created a green hydrogen production technique that uses biochar, a high-carbon material that can be produced on an industrial or agricultural scale through high-temperature carbonisation procedures. This technique lowers the amount of electricity required to convert water into hydrogen.

The team has demonstrated that using sustainable energy sources like wind and solar power and recovering waste products can achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions while also claiming that this transformative technology can produce hydrogen-using biomass at a fraction of a volt, a process typically requiring fossil fuels for industrial electricity production.

Recently, scientists have reduced the voltage required for water splitting by incorporating a carbon source into the process. Nevertheless, this process uses coal or expensive chemicals and yields carbon dioxide as a byproduct. Singh and his team modified this process to use biomass from common waste items, thereby creating biochar, a slurry high in carbon, by treating sewage, animal dung, or agricultural waste with sulfuric acid.

They found that cow dung, paper waste, hemp waste, and sugarcane husks can be used as biochar in an electrolysis chamber to reduce the energy needed to convert water into hydrogen and that this low energy can be powered by a single conventional silicon solar cell, providing 15 milliamperes of current at 0.5 volts, less than an AA battery can generate.

It is very efficient, converting almost 35 per cent of biochar and solar energy into hydrogen. It has set a world record for carbon dioxide capture in a process, potentially leading to net zero emissions and environmental and economic benefits, including beverage carbonation and plastics manufacturing.

The team also suggests that a cheap method for producing hydrogen could enable farmers to become self-sufficient and generate new revenue streams, thereby enhancing the use of biowaste and promoting clean production.


Quality journalism costs money. Today, we’re asking that you support us to do more. Support our work by sending in your donations.

The donation can be made directly into NatureNews Account below

Guaranty Trust Bank, Nigeria


NatureNews Online

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More

Footer Image