Sixto Malato - Solar photocatalytic hydrogen production at pilot scale
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Solar energy iswell-recognized as a sustainable and clean energy source. Among the variousapproaches to solar energy conversion, solar-driven hydrogen production is oneof the most promising ways to convert solar energy into hydrogen, a storablefuel. Hydrogen is undoubtedly one of the most attractive renewable alternativesto fossil fuels for a number of reasons: (i) hydrogen can be safely stored;(ii) it is an excellent energy carrier since it can store 3 times as muchenergy as conventional natural gas; (iii) its combustion is environmentallyfriendly (no release of greenhouse gases or hazardous by-products). However,the production of hydrogen currently relies in steam reforming of CH4 and CO,and thus, involves the consumption of fossil fuel energy and the emission ofgreenhouse gases. There are efforts to find alternative renewable technologiesto produce hydrogen, the so-called green hydrogen.
It is well-knownthat the efficiency of heterogeneous photocatalysis for hydrogen generationfrom water splitting is quite low. The efficiency of photocatalysis hydrogengeneration can be improved by using aqueous sacrificial agents (organicelectron donors) dissolved in water. Industrial wastewater containing highconcentrations of methanol/glycerol/formic acid have been used as feedstock.Effluents from municipal wastewaters could also be used, as they would containdozens of mg/L of organic load. This means that in a simultaneous process,hydrogen generation and contaminants removal can take place. It is important tonotice that the application of this technology has a double purpose: first, toproduce a clean fuel such as hydrogen and, second, to treat, reduce the organicload and decontaminate wastewater in certain extent.
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