Device That Turns Polluted Air Into Auto Fuel

The device utilizes a process called, “heterogeneous photocatalysis. Which has been used previously to siphon hydrogen from water and nullify gas-based pollutants. (Image: AFP Relaxnews)

There are a number of huge challenges facing the global auto industry. But two of the biggest are reducing pollution and developing replacements for fossil fuel-powered vehicles for a more sustainable future. It has to be said it’s early days yet. But some scientists in Belgium have come up with a way of potentially killing both of these incredibly difficult birds with one stone.

Heterogeneous photocatalysis

Scientists from the University of Antwerp and KU Leuven (University of Leuven) in Belgium have developed a device that uses light and a special catalyst to clean polluted air. But at the same time produces hydrogen that can then be used to power hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. The device utilizes a process called, “heterogeneous photocatalysis. Which has been used previously to siphon hydrogen from water and nullify gas-based pollutants. However, it’s rarely been used to do both at once. But the team now appears to have managed it thanks to what’s called a “photoelectrochemical cell,” which makes use of solar cells to produce hydrogen in a similar way to electrolysis water-splitting.

Also READ  Thing You Need To Know About Battery Backup!



According to Professor Sammy Verbuggen, the two processes are performed in the one device in what are being referred to as two individual “rooms,” which are separated by a membrane to isolate them from each other. On one side of the device air is purified with a photoanode, while in the other side of the device hydrogen is generated from “a part of the degradation process” thanks to a cathode that’s been tucked behind the solid electrolyte membrane.

The key to the team’s success so far is the choice of catalyst. Professor Verbuggen explains,  These cells are mostly use to extract hydrogen from water. We have discover that this is also possible, and even more efficient, with polluted air.

Also READ  Three New Moto Mods Has Been Launched!

But before we get too carried away, the team is quick to point out this apparent wonder device is at a very early stage of development. They insist that what they have come up with so far is little more than a proof-of-concept. Which they also admit has ample room for improvement. The device so far only measures a few square centimeters. So it’s hardly up to powering fleets of vehicles or counterbalancing our carbon emissions. Every exciting development has to start somewhere though, and this definitely looks to be very encouraging at least.

What's Your Reaction?

Happy Happy
Angry Angry
Amazing Amazing

Comments 0

Leave a Reply

log in

Don't have an account?
sign up

reset password

Back to
log in

sign up

Back to
log in
Choose A Format
Personality quiz
Series of questions that intends to reveal something about the personality
Trivia quiz
Series of questions with right and wrong answers that intends to check knowledge
Voting to make decisions or determine opinions
Formatted Text with Embeds and Visuals
Ranked List
Ranked List
Upload your own images to make custom memes
Photo or GIF
GIF format