U of Melbourne staff demonstrates direct hydrogen manufacturing from air; direct air electrolysis (DAE)


Researchers on the College of Melbourne (Australia) have demonstrated a technique of direct hydrogen manufacturing from air—in situ seize of freshwater from the ambiance utilizing hygroscopic electrolyte and subsequent electrolysis powered by photo voltaic or wind with a present density as much as 574 mA cm−2. An open-access paper on what they name “direct air electrolysis, DAE” is revealed in Nature Communications.

The staff operated a prototype system for 12 consecutive days with a Faradaic effectivity of round 95%.


(a) A schematic diagram of the DAE module with a water harvesting unit made from porous medium soaked with the hygroscopic ionic answer. (b) A schematic diagram of the cross-section of the DAE module, exhibiting the electrodes are remoted from the air feed, and the absorbed water are transported to the electrode by capillaries of the sponge. (c) Equilibrium water uptakes of hygroscopic options at completely different air R.H. (d) J–V curves for DAE modules utilizing Pt or Ni electrodes sandwiched with KOH electrolyte (in equilibrium with 15% and 60% R.H. at 20 °C) soaked in a melamine sponge. (e) Impact of sponge supplies on J-V efficiency of DAE modules utilizing H2SO4 electrolyte in equilibrium with 30% R.H. at 25 °C. The inset reveals the optical micro picture for the glass foam. Guo et al.

The deployment of water electrolyzer is geographically constrained by the provision of freshwater, which, nevertheless, generally is a scarce commodity. Multiple-third of the earth’s land floor is arid or semi-arid, supporting 20% of the world’s inhabitants, the place freshwater is extraordinarily troublesome to entry for every day life, not to mention electrolysis. In the intervening time, water shortage has been exacerbated by air pollution, industrial consumption, and world warming. Desalination could also be used to facilitate water electrolysis in coastal areas, nevertheless, considerably rising the associated fee and complexity of hydrogen manufacturing. However, areas wealthy in renewable energies are generally brief in water provide.

… On this work, we corroborate that moisture within the air can instantly be used for hydrogen manufacturing by way of electrolysis, owing to its common availability and pure inexhaustibility—there are 12.9 trillion tons of water in air at any second which is in a dynamic equilibrium with the aqua-sphere. … Contemplating deliquescent supplies equivalent to potassium hydroxide, sulfuric acid, propylene glycol can take in water vapor from a bone-dry air, right here, we show a technique to supply excessive purity hydrogen by electrolyzing in situ hygroscopic electrolyte uncovered to air.

The electrolyzer operates steadily underneath a variety of R.H., as little as 4%, whereas producing excessive purity hydrogen with a Faradaic effectivity round 95% for greater than 12 consecutive days, with none enter of liquid water. A solar-driven prototype with 5 parallel electrolyzers has been devised to work within the open air, reaching a mean hydrogen era price of 745 L H2 day−1 m−2 cathode; and a wind-driven prototype has additionally been demonstrated for H2 manufacturing from the air. This work opens up a sustainable pathway to supply inexperienced hydrogen with out consuming liquid water.

—Guo et al.


  • Guo, J., Zhang, Y., Zavabeti, A. et al.(2022) “Hydrogen manufacturing from the air.” Nat Commun 13, 5046 doi: 10.1038/s41467-022-32652-y


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