Tel Aviv University researchers have achieved a groundbreaking advancement in the production of “green” hydrogen, a highly efficient and cost-effective process that generates hydrogen without causing air pollution. This achievement is notable due to its potential for revolutionizing hydrogen production, a crucial raw material in various sectors.
Traditionally, the majority of hydrogen produced globally falls into the “black” or “gray” category, originating from coal or natural gas, resulting in substantial carbon emissions. However, the newly developed method by Tel Aviv University researchers uses green electricity and a highly efficient biocatalyst to generate hydrogen without any air pollution.
The research, conducted by doctoral student Itzhak Grinberg and Dr Oren Ben-Zvi, under the guidance of Prof. Iftach Yacoby and Prof. Lihi Adler-Abramovich, utilizes a unique approach. They electrified enzymes that naturally produce hydrogen in microscopic organisms, allowing them to create a highly efficient process using an electrode as an energy source instead of sunlight.
To keep the enzyme in place and maximize efficiency, they used a hydrogel to attach it to the electrode. The results of this innovation are astounding, with over 90% of the introduced electrons being used for hydrogen production. The hydrogel not only holds the enzyme effectively, but it also self-assembles into nanometric fibers that further improve enzyme attachment.
Dr Oren Ben-Zvi commented on the potential of this discovery, stating, “We hope that in the future, it will be possible to employ our method commercially, to lower the costs, and to make the switch towards using green hydrogen in industry, agriculture, and as a clean energy source.”
This research marks a significant step towards more environmentally friendly hydrogen production, as it eliminates the need for precious and rare metals and costly water distillation processes commonly associated with traditional electrolysis methods.
By harnessing green electricity and utilizing biocatalysts, this innovation could drive the adoption of green hydrogen across industries, contributing to a cleaner and more sustainable energy landscape.