If scientists could find a way to cheaply and easily split water into its molecular parts, it would give us access to an incredibly clean and renewable energy source – hydrogen fuel.
When burnt with oxygen, hydrogen fuel produces no emissions, and in theory, it’s simple enough to produce – you just take water and run an electrical current through it to produce hydrogen and oxygen. But at the moment, this process uses up so much electricity to make, it’s not exactly feasible.
Now researchers have performed one of the two steps in this process, known as reduction, with 100 percent efficiency – completely annihilating the previous record of 60 percent. That means that all the energy going into the reaction comes out the other side, and suggests that if the first step of water-splitting – oxidation – can be improved upon, hydrogen fuel could be a viable, emissions-free candidate to power our vehicles and electronic devices.