Polluted Air Can Generate Power

Scientists at the University of Antwerp and KU Leuven Belgium has developed a new approach to reducing air pollution. They developed a device that produces hydrogen gas that can be stored and used later as fuel.

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Polluted Air Can Generate Power
The new device must only be exposed to light in order to purify air and generate power. Credit: UAntwerpen and KU Leuven

The presence of toxic chemicals or compounds in the air makes air polluted. It is probably one of the most serious environmental problems confronting our civilization today. Various scientists are finding solutions to reduce air pollution. Similarly, scientists at the University of Antwerp and KU Leuven (University of Leuven), Belgium have developed a new approach to reducing this issue.

Scientists have developed a process that purifies air, and also generates power from it. It just needs to be exposed to light in order to function.

Professor Sammy Verbruggen said, “We used a small device with two rooms separated by a membrane. Air is purified on one side. At the other side, hydrogen gas is produced from a part of the degradation products. This hydrogen gas can be stored and used later as fuel, as is already being done in some hydrogen buses, for example.”

By doing this, scientists developed two major social needs i.e., clean air and alternative energy production. The heart of the solution lies at the membrane level, where the researchers use specific nanomaterials.

Professor Verbruggen said, “These catalysts are capable of producing hydrogen gas and breaking down polluted air. In the past, these cells were mostly used to extract hydrogen from water. We have now discovered that this is also possible, and even more efficient, with polluted air.”

If you are thinking that it has a very difficult process, then you are wrong. It just needs to be exposed to sunlight. This process underlying the technology are similar to those found in solar panels. First, it purifies the air and then generates power.

Professor Verbruggen said, “We are currently working on a scale of only a few square centimeters. At a later stage, we would like to scale up our technology to make the process industrially applicable. We are also working on improving our materials so we can use sunlight more efficiently to trigger the reactions.”