Posted in | Renewable Energy | Energy

Novel Process to Purify Polluted Air and Generate Power Simultaneously

A team of researchers from the University of Antwerp and KU Leuven have successfully developed a process that purifies air and simultaneously generates power. In order for the device to function, it must only be exposed to light.

The new device must only be exposed to light in order to purify air and generate power. (Credit: UAntwerpen and KU Leuven)

We use a small device with two rooms separated by a membrane. Air is purified on one side, while on the other side hydrogen gas is produced from a part of the degradation products. This hydrogen gas can be stored and used later as fuel, as is already being done in some hydrogen buses, for example.

Professor Sammy Verbruggen, University of Antwerp/ KU Leuven

The researchers respond to two main social requirements, alternative energy production and clean air. The core of the solution lies at the membrane level, where the team uses specific nanomaterials.

It looks like a complex process, but it is not, the device just needs to be exposed to light. The team’s goal is to be able to exploit sunlight, as the processes underlying the technology are akin to those found in solar panels. In this case, the difference is that electricity is not produced directly, but rather that air is purified while the produced power is stored as hydrogen gas.

We are currently working on a scale of only a few square centimetres. At a later stage, we would like to scale up our technology to make the process industrially applicable. We are also working on improving our materials so we can use sunlight more efficiently to trigger the reactions.

Professor Sammy Verbruggen, University of Antwerp/ KU Leuven

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