May 20, 2022
Nanodiamonds may be small, but they could help solve one of the biggest problems facing humanity today. climate change. Hydrogen is a clean-burning fuel that leaves only water after combustion. Many countries see hydrogen as a pathway to a zero-carbon future, but moving to a hydrogen economy requires its production to be more affordable than it is today.
This image provides a visual representation of an abstract graphene oxide sheet (black layer) with embedded nanodiamonds (bright white dots). Nanodiamonds generate long-range electrostatic forces (blurred white circles) that stabilize the sheet even in humid conditions, creating a promising membrane material for hydrogen purification.
In a recent study published in Nature Energy, researchers led by Kyoto University's Institute for Integrative Cell-Material Science (iCeMS) describe how nanodiamond-reinforced composite membranes purify hydrogen from their moist mixture, The efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the hydrogen generation process is greatly increased.
Professor Easan Sivaniah, who led the iCeMS team, said: "There are several scalable ways to produce hydrogen, but the purification of hydrogen, which usually occurs as a moist mixture, is a challenge. Membrane technology can enable energy-efficient and economical separation processes. But we There needs to be the right membrane material to make it work."
Graphene oxide (GO), a water-soluble derivative of graphite, can be assembled into a membrane that can be used for hydrogen purification, which easily passes through these filters while larger molecules get stuck.
In very humid conditions, hydrogen is usually separated from carbon dioxide or oxygen. The GO sheets are negatively charged, which causes them to repel each other. When exposed to moisture, the negatively charged sheets repel each other more, allowing water molecules to accumulate in the spaces between the GO sheets, eventually dissolving the membrane.
Dr Behnam Ghalei, who co-supervised the study, explained that adding nano-QR codes to GO sheets could solve the problem of humidity-induced disintegration. "Positively charged nanodiamonds can counteract the negative repulsive force of the film, making GO sheets more compact and water-resistant."
"In our collaboration with Dr. Ryuji Igarashi from QST, nanodiamonds with well-defined dimensions and functions were obtained, without which this research would not have been possible," said Sivaniah. Importantly, the research team holds a patent technology that can scale up the production of nanodimers at a reasonable cost in the future."
The potential uses of nanodiamonds extend beyond hydrogen production. Membrane technology could also revolutionize the game in industrial production by effectively removing humidity, which is also critical in several other fields, including pharmaceuticals, semiconductors, and lithium-ion battery production.