IIT-D develops cleaner hydrogen fuel

Researchers at IIT Delhi have generated clean hydrogen fuel from water at low cost. A steep rise in global energy demand and the necessity to curb greenhouse gas emissions have driven the researchers to look for cleaner and greener energy sources as alternatives.

The study, which was funded by Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Energy Centre, saw the researchers successfully split water by a process known as Sulphur-Iodine thermochemical hydrogen cycle to generate low-cost, clean hydrogen fuel for industrial consumption.

“Hydrogen gas, a viable choice as a renewable substitute for fossil fuels, can help mitigate emissions,” professor Sreedevi Upadhyayula of Department of Chemical Engineering said.

Upadhyayula added that “there is an imminent need to switch over to renewable energy sources, such as water. The thermo-chemical hydrogen cycle for splitting water offers a practical means of generating hydrogen as a fuel and also oxygen as a byproduct. Hence, it can be considered favorably for the commercial production of hydrogen on a large scale in near future.”

IIT stated that one of the challenges in the low-cost conversion was to design a suitable catalyst for the energy intensive, corrosive step of sulphuric acid conversion to sulphur-dioxide and oxygen. But the in-house catalyst developed by them, which is now patented, met these criteria.

“The modified iron oxide catalyst dispersed on silica surface on a silicon-carbide support catalyst is not only cost-effective but also functional under the high temperature and corrosive conditions of the reaction,” the institute explained in a statement.

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