Italian research opens door to new hydrogen production method

August 1, 2005

Brussels, 29 Jul 2005

Researchers in Italy have developed a new technique for producing hydrogen, and for purifying polluted gases.

The technique involves the release of oxygen from cerium oxide, a pale yellow-white powder used in ceramics and to polish glass.

'Ceria-based materials are oxygen buffers, materials that allow [one] to efficiently store or release oxygen, thus favouring a high catalytic activity and inducing a set of chemical reactions which would otherwise require higher pressures and temperatures,' says Friedrich Esch from the TASC INFM-CNR laboratory. The findings could therefore make an important contribution towards energy conservation, increasing the safety of industrial processes, and reducing environmental impact.

Most industrial processes currently involve heterogeneous catalysts - devices that are in a different state (solid) to one of the reactants (gas).

The researchers, from three different Italian institutions in Trieste, have used innovative technologies in order to obtain these results: scanning tunnelling microscopy that allows one to obtain images of a material's surface with atomic resolution, and numerical modelling - used to describe electronic and atomic structure by means of parallel computing.

CORDIS RTD-NEWS / © European Communities
Item source: http:/// ALLER=NHP_EN_NEWS&ACTION=D&SESSION=&RCN= EN_RCN_ID:24216

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