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The splitting of the atomic nucleus for energy production currently has two drawbacks – process duration and energy costs. BGU environmental physicist Prof. Arik Yochelis and Technion materials science professor Avner Rothschild have found new ways to speed up the catalytic process, which will significantly reduce energy costs.
the electrical energy needed to break the chemical bonds in a water molecule to form hydrogen and oxygen. The release of oxygen from water is carried out through oxygenic photosynthesis, which includes the electrolysis of water and the thermal decomposition of various oxides. Commercially pure oxygen is produced by distillation of liquefied air.
Jochelis and Rothschild have demonstrated a new paradigm in which two electrons can travel to different places at the same time, lowering the energy barriers to oxygen evolution. Their findings have been published in the leading peer-reviewed sustainability journal Energy & environmental science. The study was supported by the Ministry of Science and Technology.
“Our study changes the understanding of the catalytic mechanism of oxygen evolution – an important reaction that represents a bottleneck in the production of hydrogen from water”,– says Professor Rothschild. “We hope this new understanding will lead to additional breakthroughs in materials development and new processes to create clean fuels from renewable resources to ease the transition to zero energy”.
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