Hydrogen is viewed as a promising alternative to fossil fuel, but the methods used to make it either generate too much carbon dioxide or are too expensive.
Hydrogen is viewed as a promising alternative to fossil fuel, but the methods used to make it either generate too much carbon dioxide or are too expensive. Rice University researchers have found a way to harvest hydrogen from plastic waste using a low-emissions method that could more than pay for itself.
“In this work, we converted waste plastics ⎯ including mixed waste plastics that don’t have to be sorted by type or washed ⎯ into high-yield hydrogen gas and high-value graphene,” said Kevin Wyss, a Rice doctoral alumnus and lead author on a study published in Advanced Materials. “If the produced graphene is sold at only 5% of current market value ⎯ a 95% off sale! ⎯ clean hydrogen could be produced for free.”
By comparison, ‘green’ hydrogen ⎯ produced using renewable energy sources to split water into its two component elements ⎯ costs roughly $5 for just over two pounds. Though cheaper, most of the nearly 100 million tons of hydrogen used globally in 2022 was derived from fossil fuels, its production generating roughly 12 tons of carbon dioxide per ton of hydrogen.
Read more at: Rice University
James Tour (left) and Kevin Wyss (Photo Credit: Gustavo Raskosky/Rice University)