Hydrogen is a clean burning fuel. It turns into water when consumed. Many countries are convinced that this element could lead humanity towards a carbon free future. However, its production must be much more affordable than it is at present. This is to ensure the transition to a hydrogen economy using materials such as nanodiamonds.
According to researchers from theInstitute for Integrated Cell-Material Sciences (iCeMS) from Kyoto University in Nature Energy, the composite membranes reinforced with nanodiamonds would be able to purify hydrogen from its wet mixtures. A process that makes hydrogen generation processes more efficient and cost-effective.
Note that theassembly of graphene oxide (GO)a water-soluble derivative of graphite, can form a membrane that can be used to purify hydrogen. In principle, these filters allow hydrogen gas to pass through and block large molecules.
Hydrogen is usually separated from CO2 or O2 under humid conditions
The GO sheets negatively charged cells grow back gradually, and even more so when exposed to humidity. For good reason, the water molecules accumulate in the spaces between the GO sheets, eventually dissolving the membrane.
the Dr. Behnam Ghaleithe research co-supervisor suggests that theadding nanodiamonds to GO foils avoids the problem of disintegration caused by humidity. “Positively charged nanodiamonds can cancel negative membrane repulsions, making GO sheets more compact and water resistant”.
It should be specified that this team of scientists includes other research groups from Japan and overseas. These include researchers from the Japan Synchrotron Radiation Research Institute (SPring-8/JASRI), the Institute for Quantum Life Science (QST), ShanghaiTech University (China) and the National Central University (Taiwan).
Nanodiamonds can also be used in other fields
According to Easan Sivaniah, the professor who led the iCeMS team, nanodiamonds would be useful in certain fields where the humidity control is vital. These molecules can for example be used in pharmaceuticals, semiconductors and the production of lithium-ion batteries.
The membrane technology could also improve the current air conditioning system by effectively removing humidity. It turns out that air conditioners generate moreCO2 emissions because of the huge amount of electricity they consume to remove moisture.