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IIT-B researchers finds a low cost method to extract hydrogen from water using magnets

IIT-B researchers finds a low cost method to extract hydrogen from water using magnets

New Delhi: A team of Indian researchers from IIT Bombay have come up with an innovative hydrogen manufacturing route that could pave the path towards environment-friendly hydrogen fuel at a lower cost.

Research led by Prof. C. Subramaniam involves electrolysis of water in the presence of an external magnetic field to manufacture hydrogen.

The simple approach also provides the capability to retrofit any existing electrolyser (that uses electricity to break water into hydrogen and oxygen) with external magnets without drastic change in the design, leading to increased energy efficiency of H2 production.

This proof-of-concept demonstration for producing hydrogen has been published in the journal ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering.

In this method, the same system that produces 1 ml of hydrogen gas required 19 pr cent lower energy to produce 3 ml of hydrogen in the same time.

This is achieved by synergistically coupling the electric and magnetic fields at the catalytic site, the scientists explained.

The electrocatalytic material -- cobalt-oxide nano-cubes that are dispersed over hard-carbon based nanostructured carbon florets -- is of prime importance to achieve this effect and was developed with the support of a grant from the Department of Science & Technology's Material for Energy Storage Programme in the Technology Mission Division.

"The intermittent use of an external magnetic field provides a new direction for achieving energy-efficient hydrogen generation. Other catalysts can also be explored for this purpose," Subramaniam said.

"A basic electrolyser cell of 0.5 nm3/h capacity can be immediately upgraded to a 1.5 nm3/h capacity by replacing the catalysts and supplying the magnetic field," added Jayeeta Saha and Ranadeb Ball, both students supported by the DST funding.

The team is now working with an industrial partner to increase the TRL level and ensure its successful commercialisation.

"Given the importance of hydrogen-based economy, we aim to implement the project in a mission-mode and realise an indigenous magneto-electrolytic hydrogen generator," said Subramaniam, adding: "If their efforts are successful, we might be looking at an environmentally friendly fuel, hydrogen, replacing petroleum, diesel, and compressed natural gas (CNG) in the future."

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