A team of researchers from the Polytechnic University of Valencia and the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC) discovered a new method that transforms electricity into green hydrogen or chemicals only by microwave, without cables and without any type of contact with the electrodes.

It’s a revolution in energy research and a key development for the industrial decarbonization process, as well as for the future of the automotive sector and the chemical industry, among others. The study was published in the latest issue of Nature Energy.

The technology developed and patented by the UPV and the CSIC It is based on the phenomenon of microwave reduction of solid materials.

This method allows electrochemical processes to be carried out directly without the need for electrodes, which simplifies and greatly reduces its practical use, because it offers more freedom in the design of the structure of the device and in the choice of the operating conditions, mainly the temperature.

It is a technology with great practical potential, especially for use in energy storage and in the production of synthetic fuels and green chemicals.

This aspect is of significant importance today, as both transport and industry are in the midst of a transition to decarbonization, forcing them to meet very demanding targets between 2030 and 2040 to reduce the consumption of energy and substances. of fossil origin, mainly natural gas. and oil.

José Manuel Serra, CSIC professor at the Institute of Chemical Technology.

Green hydrogen for industrial and transport uses.

The main use of this revolutionary technology is green hydrogen production (produced without emission of greenhouse gases) from water for industrial and transport purposes.

As the ITQ and ITACA team underlines, this is a high potential technology for the automotive sector, especially for cars powered by fuel cells and hybrids or large vehicles such as trains or ships. But also for the chemical industry, metallurgy, the ceramics sector or the production of fertilizers, among many other sectors.

This method will transform renewable electricity, usually from solar or wind power, into value-added products and green fuels. It has countless uses, and we predict that new uses will emerge for energy storage, new material development, and chemical production.

José Manuel Catalá, researcher at the ITACA Institute of the UPV.

Ultra-fast battery charging… and space exploration.

The UPV and CSIC team are investigating other future uses of this technology and are currently focusing efforts on its use for super fast battery charging.

Our technology could allow a virtually instantaneous reduction in the size of the electrode (metal anode) that stores energy. In other words, one would go from a gradual, layered charging process, which can take hours, to a simultaneous process throughout the electrolyte, which would charge a battery in seconds.

José Manuel Catalá.

Another use would be the direct generation of oxygen with microwave, which opens up a wide spectrum of new uses.

A specific use would be the direct production of oxygen with extraterrestrial rocks, which could play a key role in the future exploration and colonization of the Moon, Mars or other rocky bodies in the solar system.

José Manuel Serra.

More information: www.itaca.upv.es