Green Hydrogen Production: Soundwave Method of RMIT University - India Renewable Energy Consulting – Solar, Biomass, Wind, Cleantech
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Green Hydrogen Production: Soundwave Method of RMIT University

According to the article posted in Innovation News Network, 

  • Engineers from RMIT University in Melbourne have used sound waves to boost production of green hydrogen by 14 times, through electrolysis to split water.
  •  Their invention offers a promising way to access cheap hydrogen fuel for a number of sectors. Check it out to jump to the detailed info about it in the article posted in Innovation News Network.

The breakthrough by engineers in Melbourne utilizes sound waves to enhance the production of green hydrogen through electrolysis, a process traditionally known for its inefficiency and high costs. Here’s a breakdown of the key elements and advancements detailed in their research:

Basic Principle of Electrolysis

Electrolysis is the chemical process of using electricity to split water (H2O) into its constituent gases, hydrogen (H2) and oxygen (O2). The setup involves:

  • Electrodes: Two electrodes (anode and cathode) are placed in water.
  • Electric Current: An electric current is passed through the water via these electrodes.
  • Gas Production: At the cathode, hydrogen gas is produced, while oxygen gas is produced at the anode.

Enhancements with Sound Waves

The team from RMIT University has innovated by integrating high-frequency sound waves into this process, resulting in a dramatic increase in hydrogen production. The key enhancements include:

  • Increased Hydrogen Production: The application of sound waves results in a 14-fold increase in hydrogen output for the same input voltage compared to traditional electrolysis.
  • Mechanism: Sound waves help in breaking down the water molecules more efficiently. They also prevent the accumulation of gas bubbles on the electrodes, which is a common issue that reduces electrode activity and efficiency in standard electrolysis.

Technical Innovations and Benefits

  • Electrode Material Costs: The use of sound waves allows for the use of less expensive electrode materials like silver instead of costly ones like platinum or iridium. This is because the non-corrosive nature of the process eliminates the need for expensive materials to resist corrosion.
  • Avoidance of Corrosive Electrolytes: Traditional electrolysis often uses corrosive electrolytes to increase conductivity and efficiency. The sound wave technique avoids this, leading to lower operational risks and costs.
  • Bubble Dynamics: By preventing bubble build-up and promoting rapid removal, sound waves enhance the conductivity and stability of the electrodes. This contributes to overall greater efficiency and lower energy consumption.

Efficiency and Energy Savings

  • Energy Efficiency: According to the research team, the use of sound waves not only increases the quantity of hydrogen produced but also enhances the energy efficiency of the process. Professor Leslie Yeo mentioned a potential net-positive energy saving of 27% due to improvements in conversion efficiency facilitated by this new method.

Future Prospects and Challenges

  • Scalability: Integrating this technology with existing electrolyzers and scaling it for industrial use are the next steps. Challenges include ensuring compatibility with current systems and maintaining efficiency at a larger scale.
  • Industry Collaboration: The team is looking to collaborate with industry partners to further develop and integrate this technology into existing hydrogen production processes.

This approach opens up new avenues not only for green hydrogen production but also for other applications where electrode efficiency and stability are crucial. By tackling the intrinsic inefficiencies of electrolysis through innovative use of sound waves, this technology paves the way for more sustainable and cost-effective hydrogen production.

Interestingly, we have some other posts related to this content:

Efficient Green Hydrogen Production with New Material by Twente UniversityTwente University researchers developed a composite material for green hydrogen production, outperforming individual compounds by up to 680 times without relying on expensive metals. Hydrogen Production from Biomass-IISc’s Technology: IISc introduces groundbreaking technology for extracting hydrogen from biomass, offering a sustainable and eco-friendly alternative for cleaner energy sources.

About Narasimhan Santhanam (Narsi)

Narsi, a Director at EAI, Co-founded one of India's first climate tech consulting firm in 2008.

Since then, he has assisted over 250 Indian and International firms, across many climate tech domain Solar, Bio-energy, Green hydrogen, E-Mobility, Green Chemicals.

Narsi works closely with senior and top management corporates and helps then devise strategy and go-to-market plans to benefit from the fast growing Indian Climate tech market.


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