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Splitting water into its constituent elements – hydrogen and oxygen – is actually pretty simple. All you have to do is pass an electric current through it and the molecules will break up ... slowly. Doing it efficiently requires the addition of a catalyst. Unfortunately, as in so many chemical reactions, the best catalyst is platinum – which happens to be extremely expensive (currently about $2,000 an ounce).

UK-based Ultra Green Group has made an investment in a start-up called OM Energy Ltd. OM Energy has been developing an Electro Hydrogen Generator (EHG), which produces hydrogen on board a vehicle from water for use as fuel. Anyone that has been following AutoblogGreen for a while is aware that we generally don't think much of such on-board hydrogen generators for cars. Until now, most of them have relied solely on drawing electrical energy from the alternator to electrolyze the water, a process

Currently, most commercially available hydrogen is collected by reforming natural gas with steam. That means fossil fuels are still in the mix, which is a serious black mark against hydrogen use for fuel. While it's possible to extract hydrogen from water, the process is rather energy intensive and isn't yet commercially viable.

Last week we ignited some healthy discussion in the comments with my post on the (de)merits of on-board hydrogen generators and injectors. While few could argue with my basic thermodynamic analysis of the process, defenders repeated the claim from producers of these systems that something magical happens when you add hydrogen to the air fuel mixture of an engine. We've looked into this a little further in recent days including with a powertrain engineer that actually understands combustion proce

One of the biggest cost drivers for electrolyzers and fuel cells is the need for precious metals like platinum to act as catalysts. At $1,700-2,000 per ounce, it can rapidly drive the costs of a fuel cell through the roof. As a result one of the main areas of development in fuel cells has been reduced use of catalysts and new catalyst materials. MIT Chemist Daniel Nocera has been working on this problem and discovered that cobalt and phosphate may make an excellent substitute in electrolyzers. A

Researchers at the Savannah River National Laboratory have completed their first long duration of a new hybrid sulfur process electrolyzer. The process works in two main stages with the first taking sulfuric acid and decomposing it into oxygen and sulfur dioxide in the presence of heat from a nuclear reactor.

Who woulda thunk that the first hydrogen-powered community would be Vestenskov, Denmark? In the next couple years, that will be a reality, as the Lolland Hydrogen Community will be installing Micro Combined Heat and Power stations in 35 homes.

The National Hydrogen Association Meeting is coming up this week in San Antonio, Texas and QuantumSphere will be making a presentation about a new breakthrough in hydrogen electrolysis. QSI makes nano metals and will be a announcing a new electrolysis electrode design that uses nano scale catalysts combined with larger materials, to achieve dramatic increases in hydrogen generation efficiency.

How many ways can you make hydrogen? We know of a wide variety (waves and wind are just two recent possibilities), but researchers are constantly studying others (we'll need them, if the hydrogen economy is ever going to work). The Hydrogen Solar Ltd. company is working on a new method that uses a thin photoactive film made of iron oxide nanoparticles that convert sunlight-to-hydrogen by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen. Hydrogen Solar was just awarded a £70,000 research grant from

HyPower have fitted a Volkswagen GTi with their H2 Reactor (H2R) hydrogen system to show that it can power the vehicle using only water. Designed to use electrolysis on the fly to split water into hydrogen and oxygen, the system then uses the hydrogen/oxygen gas to power its original internal combustion engine.

Ask any pragmatic member of the automotive community when we might see a hydrogen-powered vehicles (fuel cell or internal-combustion engine), and the answer will probably range from "several years" to "several decades". General Electric looks to be trying to push that towards the lower end of the range with a prototype electrolysis device that promises low-cost hydrogen.

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