Thursday, July 31, 2008
Electrolysis - splitting water into oxygen and hydrogen by the use of an electric current - is an old technology. What's being reported by an MIT chemist, though, is a long-sought advance - a cheap catalyst that will enable the reaction to occur at room temperature and pressure. Without the need of current processes to heat the water under pressure, this could make it much more economical to "split" water using solar power and store the resulting fuel for use when the sun isn't shining. The technology has a long way to go to demonstrate large-scale practicality and economic viability, but it reminds us once again to never underestimate human ingenuity.