Did you know that you can turn sewage gas into hydrogen fuel?

The word sewage is usually associated with bad smell and unpleasant images, right? But what if, in the not-too-distant future, it could be a reference for a new and necessary fuel that will help vehicles reduce the emission of harmful gases to the environment? Your perception of the subject would certainly change.

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It’s just this is what a group of scientists from the Ohio State Clean Energy Research Laboratory, in the United States, intends to do, according to a study published in the ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering magazine. “Hydrogen sulfide is one of the most harmful gases to industry and the environment,” said Lang Qin, study co-author and researcher at Ohio State University.

According to Qin, precisely because of the Because the dominant gas in sewers is so harmful and dangerous, several researchers are looking for methods to transform hydrogen sulfide into something that is not as harmful and, “preferably, valuable”. The form found was called chemical looping.

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“This work demonstrates a new strategy for the removal of high-yield H₂S by means of a modified sulfur carrier percentage dopant, and provides new insights for an effective dopant screening strategy aiding future carrier design,” the study says.

What is chemical looping?

Image: Disclosure/ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering

According to For scientists, chemical looping is basically using a solid material to break a chemical reaction into several smaller reactions, using metal oxide particles to circulate oxygen and burn fuel. This process had previously been used to burn fossil fuels such as coal without emitting carbon dioxide.

Success in the tests allowed the team to use the same principle to convert hydrogen sulfide into hydrogen fuel. So far, however, tests have only been performed in the laboratory. This means that it is not yet possible to detect how (and if) the method would behave on an industrial scale. “The big picture is that we want to solve the harmful gas problem and we thought our chemical looping process would allow for that,” Qin commented.

Precisely because of the lack of large-scale testing, Kalyani Jangam, lead author of the study, urged the most daring to calm down to see the solution hit the streets (and tanks) of hydrogen-powered cars. “It’s too early to say whether our research can replace any of the hydrogen fuel production technologies out there,” he commented.

“What we’re doing is adjusting this decomposition process and make a valuable product from that,” concluded Jangam. In other words: no going around collecting waste from the sewers and throwing it in the car tank, huh? All kidding aside, the important thing is that science continues to work hard in its commitment to prioritizing the environment.

  • Scientists create sustainable fuel using metal scrap aluminum and water

Chinese companies are working hard on hydrogen-powered cars, and Japanese Toyota announced that one of its models, in addition to with a lot of autonomy, it still purifies the air while it runs. The future of the auto industry, by the way, is as linked to electric cars as it is to hydrogen-powered ones. Take the opportunity to learn more about the subject and definitely understand the differences between them.

Source: Digital Trends, ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering

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