IIT Guwahati researchers develop catalyst to produce eco-friendly fuel 

This catalyst can produce hydrogen from methyl alcohol and does not co-produce carbon dioxide 
This is what they developed | (Pic: EdexLive)
This is what they developed | (Pic: EdexLive)

Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Guwahati have developed a catalyst that can produce sustainable green hydrogen fuel from wood alcohol and does not produce carbon dioxide as a byproduct, say officials.

The easy and environmentally safe process also produces formic acid which is a useful industrial chemical. This makes methanol a promising Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carrier (LOHC) and contributes to the concept of a hydrogen-methanol economy, the officials said.

PTI reports that the research has been published in the ACS Catalysis journal.

IIT Guwahati researchers speak
Akshai Kumar AS, Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry, IIT Guwahati said the world is moving towards finding alternatives to fossil fuels, and hydrogen gas continues to be the best source of clean energy generation.

The team explains the process as follows – currently, hydrogen is produced either by the electrochemical splitting of water or from bio-derived chemicals such as alcohol. In the latter method, hydrogen is typically produced from methyl alcohol (commonly called wood alcohol) using a catalyst, through a process called methanol reforming.

"There are two problems with the catalytic production of hydrogen from wood alcohol. The first is that the process involves high temperatures in the range of 300 degrees Celsius and at high pressures (20 atmospheres). Secondly, the reaction co-produces carbon dioxide, which is a greenhouse gas. This is where we have found a solution," Kumar said.

The researcher explained that in methanol-reforming, in stark contrast to well-reported catalytic systems that act like "Brahmastra" and result in complete destruction of carbon dioxide.

The current work involves a smart strategy to design pincer (crab-like) catalysts that selectively produce high-value formic acid and clean-burning hydrogen.

Related Stories

No stories found.