Though hydrogen fuel eliminates tailpipe pollution, most hydrogen fuel is made from natural gas, a fossil fuel. It is possible to make it from a cleaner source: water. With electrodes in water, electricity can split the hydrogen from oxygen, giving you pure hydrogen. But until now, the processes have relied on purified freshwater, which is expensive. For the use of hydrogen fuel to scale up, we need a different source, one that’s cheaper and doesn’t use up water we could be drinking instead. Now new research from Stanford scientists demonstrates a new method for making hydrogen fuel directly from ocean water. “Right now, the need for hydrogen is still relatively limited because the so-called hydrogen economy hasn’t taken off yet, although it’s in its early growing stage,” says Hongjie Dai, a chemistry professor at Stanford and coauthor of a new paper about the research. “You could imagine there would be more demand for hydrogen.” [Photo: courtesy H. Dai, Yun Kuang, Michael Kenney] Hydrogen-powered cars are already on roads, and a hydrogen-powered train is now running in Germany. A hydrogen-powered ferry is coming to San Francisco this year, and a project in Norway is designing a zero-emissions cargo ship. A […]

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