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Green Fuel Pulled From The Air

Wouldn't it be great if there was a device that harvested sunshine and water from the air all around us and, as if by magic, turns it into green hydrogen and oxygen? With no hidden pollutants or unwanted side effects? Just clean energy...


Sun shining through clouds above a green field

Shortly, in France, a device will go into action that promises to do exactly that. “Sun to X” is a €3 million EU-funded project to create a system to convert sunlight and humidity into liquid hydrogen fuel.


It could pave the way for green hydrogen to be produced where ever it's required, capable of powering everything from shipping to steelmaking with a minimal carbon footprint.


When hydrogen is burned, it produces only water and oxygen, making it the perfect fuel for the world's modern requirements. Getting hold of hydrogen in the first place is the tricky bit. Currently, most hydrogen is produced from natural gas, a carbon-intensive process that uses a fossil fuel, and is dubbed “grey hydrogen”.


Lower-carbon “green hydrogen” can be produced from water by using renewable electricity to power an electrolyser, but this is expensive and requires lots of electricity from renewables, which is in demand elsewhere. So, what to do?


For years, researchers have been working on developing a third way, a process of producing green hydrogen without having to make electricity first. The Sun to X project, which launched in September 2020 with eight partners across the European research and business community, is making some of the fastest progress towards this goal.

 

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