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08/06/2013

Harvesting hydrogen with sun and mirrors

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    Using a series of mirrors and sunlight, it is possible to develop a more cost-efficient way of harvesting hydrogen, which could help make hydrogen more attractive as an eco-friendly fuel.
    The solar-thermal system will be designed to concentrate sunlight onto a single point atop a tower using a huge array of mirrors. As the tower gathers the heat, which will reach about 2500 degree F, the heat will be transferred to a reactor containing metal oxides. Heating the metal oxides to such a high degree will cause the release of oxygen atoms, and, when steam is added to the system, the oxides will attract the oxygen atoms and leave the hydrogen behind to be gathered.
    The new technique will improve upon current methods by allowing the two chemical reactions to take place at the same temperature.
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