[HYU Research] Contributes to the Advent of a "Hydrogen Economy" by Significantly Reducing the Catalyst Cost
Professor Song Tae-Seup
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The Paris Climate Change Agreement signed in 2015 in Paris, which will transform not only Korea’s but the world's energy market, took up the role of transforming existing fossil fuels into alternative energy. With the recent growing interest in hydrogen, it is quickly becoming a popular energy source, even to the extent that the current government has declared a “hydrogen economy.”
Song Tae-seup of the Hanyang University Department of Energy Engineering research team developed the catalyst materials with high efficiency, low cost, and high durability in line with this trend. This is expected to accelerate the revitalization of the hydrogen economy by succeeding in lowering the production cost of hydrogen.
The hydrothermal technique requires a catalyst to electrolyze water to separate the hydrogen and oxygen. Catalytic materials are Metal-Metalloid elements based on transition metals, and research is being actively conducted on them. Among those elements, the development of Metal-Metalloid materials including triple and quadruple elements has continuously been attempted in order to take advantage of the varying electronic levels of the transferred metal.
There was a limit to forming a stable compound with existing technology. The Metal-Metalloid materials based on transition metals alone were not stable in the electrolyte due to the dissolution of the metal element. Professor Song Tae-seup of the Department of Energy Engineering solved this issue using Atomic Layer Deposition (ADL) technology. In addition, Professor Song proposed the possibility of reducing the cost of catalyst by up to 20 percent, by developing the world’s first catalyst surface partial amorphous technology and enhancing hydrogen generation efficiency to four times that of conventional noble metal based catalysts.
Professor Song said, “The hydrogen economy consists of the production, storage, and transportation of hydrogen,” and explained the need for this research by saying, “Among them, hydrogen production is an important technology for activating the hydrogen economy”. In particular, the Moon Jae-in government announced the roadmap to revitalize the hydrogen economy in January and set specific goals such as a cost of only 3,000 won per kilogram of hydrogen and a total of 6.2 million hydrogen cars by 2040. Now reducing hydrogen production costs through hydroelectric systems has become an essential challenge.
Currently, there are disadvantages in commercialization due to the expensive price of Green Hydrogen which is produced through hydrolysis and photoelectrolysis and costs 9,000-10,000 won per kilogram, which is more expensive than Grey Hydrogen which costs 1500-2000 won per kilogram and comes from a refinery or gas reforming process.
Professor Song rearranged atoms on the surface of the catalyst that generate hydrogen to remedy these disadvantages. The main feature is that the surface of the transition metal used as the conventional catalyst is fluorinated. As a result, the chemical activity of the catalyst surface rose, and the hydrogen production reaction became more active. Not only did the chemical activity increase, but the physical activity did as well, so the charge to decompose hydrogen in water could be supplied more efficiently.
Professor Song Tae-seup said, “The newly developed atomic rearrangement technology can be applied to various high value-added next generation energy devices such as batteries, fuel cells, and supercapacitors, as well as high- efficiency hydrogen generation catalysts,” and concluded by saying that they are the core source technologies that can contribute to the creation of new growth engines for our country.
Click to Read Hanyang Research 2019 Vol.2
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