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IIT Jodhpur develops ‘future fuel’ using sunlight and water

Post-Doctoral Fellows and Students guided and led by Rakesh Kumar Sharma, Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry, IIT Jodhpur, have found a way to extract oxygen and obtain pure hydrogen using sunlight, water and catalysts. Lanthanide is used in this process to dupe oxygen and in the process, the pure hydrogen is left behind which can be used as a natural fuel and will have no emissions. The process is similar to hydrogen fuel cell technology. Over 700 different types of catalyst combinations have been tried in the process to obtain the pure hydrogen. The way to extract pure hydrogen currently is very expensive and involves burning of methane at an industrial level. Also, this process involves a temperature of over 1000°c to decimate CH4 (Methane) and obtain Hydrogen. This process increases global warming as it produces a lot of greenhouse gases. The challenge here is to extract pure hydrogen is to trap oxygen. Presently, hydrogen fuel a very expensive proposition and costs almost four times than the petrol prices in India. And, the research team at IIT Jodhpur has been successful in obtaining pure oxygen without any hydrogen at a very less price using Lanthanide. IIT Jodhpur has applied for a patent of this process, which is inspired by nature’s photosynthesis. Also, a prototype is being developed for this model.

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