Israeli Researchers Make Major Hydrogen Fuel Breakthrough

A joint team of researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) and the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology made a breakthrough toward unfolding the mechanism of splitting water via sunlight illumination (photocatalysis). According to a paper published in Nature Communications, the researchers have begun to understand a novel chemical mechanism that is essential for paving the way to overcome the notorious efficiency limitations in hydrogen fuel production and to enable the development of a new and more efficient process to produce it. Hydrogen fuel has long been considered a preferred alternative energy source for general consumption as it emits nothing but water, involves a quick refueling process, and has a greater range than electric batteries. However, an efficient process by which to catalyze the reactions necessary to create the fuel has long evaded researchers, making the energy source commercially non- viable. Finally, though, researchers have identified the fundamental chemical reaction that enables devising distinct strategies to photo-generate hydrogen. Understanding this process and replicating the reaction in water could help produce hydrogen fuel without relying on large amounts of man-made energy sources or precious metals to catalyze the reaction.