Hydrogen's widespread use is fraught with many difficulties. The challenges currently are to do with safety concerns in gas storage and transportation, and low rate of production leading to non-viability of technologies at the point-of-use. Another global concern of immediate relevance involves heavy-metal ion pollution. Viable processes which can simultaneously remove and result in beneficiation of the contaminants are hitherto rarely reported. In this context we report a single-step, in situ co-reduction approach which has the dual advantage of (i) Hg contaminant removal, and (ii) room temperature hydrogen production. Hydrogen is produced via galvanic corrosion of in situ synthesized nanoaluminium amalgam. The production rate (720 mL/min for 0.5 g-Al salt) is far superior to what would be expected from the use of pure hydrides, and/or using bulk amalgams at room temperature. The method is simple, chimie douce (i.e soft chemical), hence potentially affordable, and capable of providing a means of beneficiating Hg contaminated water present in effluents from certain industries (for example, industries which uses chlor-alkali process). The in situ co-reduction approach helps in bypassing the usual rate limiting step which involves formation of an alumina passivation layer on hydrolytic material surface. Given the potential that exists in scale down and up, this approach offers a method to address the long standing challenge of point-of-use hydrogen availability.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Energy Engineering and Power Technology
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Fuel Technology
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment