A group of researchers from the Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV), and the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) have found a new process that enables conversation of electricity to hydrogen or chemical products with the help of microwaves without cables or any influence of electrodes.
The researchers first employ ionic material with microwaves and noticed that the components displayed an unusual change in the properties mostly in the electronic conductivity. Prof. Catala said “We were very intrigued about these sudden changes in their electrical properties and wanted to understand what process was going on. For this reason, we keep on designing new experiments, new microwave reactors, and utilizing other analytical techniques.”
Then it was verified that microwaves combine with these materials by accelerating the electrons and releases the molecules of oxygen suddenly from their structure. The change becomes detectable by quick alterations to the conductivity, almost at low temperatures (300ºC approx). Prof. J. M. Serra based on the result of the study concludes that “This non-equilibrium state is maintained while microwaves are applied, but tends to revert via reoxygenation (reoxidation) when microwaves are switched off. At first sight, we realized the great practical potential of this discovery, especially now that very ambitious goal should be meet in the next two decades to reach an economy with zero net greenhouse gas emissions.”
The overall process presents a disruption in energy research development. It also plays a very important role in the decarbonization of the process industry. The technology has been made patented by the UPV and CSIC. The main use of this technology is the formation of green hydrogen (produced without emitting greenhouse gases) from water, for industrial and transportation purposes.
Prof. J.M. Serra also said “It is a technology with great practical potential, especially for its use in energy storage and production of synthetic fuels and green chemicals. This aspect has significant importance nowadays, as both transportation and industry are immersed in a transition towards decarbonization and electrification, meaning they have to meet very challenging targets in 2030 and 2040 to decrease the consumption of energy and substances from fossil sources, mainly natural gas and oil.”
There is one more application to this process which is ultra-fast charging of batteries. According to Prof. Catala “The technology could enable a practically instantaneous reduction (electron injection) of the electrode (metallic anode) that stores energy. In other words, we would go from a (2D) layer-based progressive charging process, which can take hours, to a simultaneous recharging process in the entire (3D) volume of the material storing the energy, which would make it possible to charge a battery in a few seconds.”
This technology seems to be very efficient for us and in the upcoming future, it will be very useful in various sectors. Transportation and industry seem to move up into decarbonization and electrification, which means they had to meet challenging targets in 2030 and 2040 to decrease the utilization of energy and substances from fossil sources and it is expected that this process will play a vital role here.
Source – Polytechnic University of Valencia