Major step in the production of green hydrogen


Three Belgian researchers are behind a revolutionary invention enabling the production of green hydrogen thanks to small panels placed on house roofs.

Johan Martens, Tom Bosserez and Jan Rongé form a team of bioengineers who have been working together since 2013 at KU Leuven. They have just invented a small panel capable of converting sunlight and water vapour into hydrogen gas without requiring any rare metals.

Currently, hydrogen extraction methods require large-scale facilities. Their revolutionary process now means that panels, comparable to those used for photovoltaics, can be installed to produce low-cost green hydrogen at home.

In real terms, this invention captures water molecules from humidity in the air using sunlight to produce energy. The Belgian bioengineers have succeeded in producing chemical reactions capable of separating water molecules in order to isolate dihydrogen, which can be used as fuel without emitting greenhouse gases.

As an example, twenty of these panels, made with inexpensive materials, would be enough to provide the heat and electricity required by a modern home, even in the event of a harsh winter, and also charge the batteries of an electric vehicle. Bearing in mind that hydrogen is often described as the fuel of the future for the automotive industry, this invention, hailed by the European Commission, appears to promise some great opportunities.

Prototypes are currently being tested with a view to making this technology available on a large scale by 2026.

* There are several types of hydrogen: black, produced from coal and highly polluting; grey, produced from gas and not any more environmentally friendly; blue, which produces CO2 that will be stored and reused; pink, produced from nuclear electricity; and green, produced from renewable electricity by the electrolysis of water, considered to be the cleanest.