1833 Device Might Help in Production of Cheap Hydrogen

November 12, 2008 / No Comments

A team of Italian scientists have discovered a device crafted by G. D. Botto in 1833 that could help change the way we produce hydrogen and usher us into a tomorrow with clean hydrogen energy that is available cheaply.

Uncovered by a team of scientists the Botto device, uses thermocoupling of two metals to produce electricity that can electrolyze water and produce hydrogen at low costs. But what is thermocoupling? A technique in which two different metals are welded together and the two ends placed in different temperatures.

botto device 1833 Device Might Help in Production of Cheap Hydrogen

The Botto device used water at one end and wooden flame at the other to create the temperature difference between wires of Platinum and iron. Modern scientists replaced the wooden flame with concentrated sunlight using mirrors, the costly platinum with copper and used water in the middle to create further temperature difference and hence producing more current.

The small scale device produces 20 mW of energy and this can be further expanded to create more energy that is required for electrolysis and production of large amounts of Hydrogen. It seems the Italians have indeed uncovered a gem from the past, let’s hope they get it working.

Source: Gas 2.0
Image : De Luca, R.; Ganci, S.; and Zozzaro, P. “Revisiting an idea of G D Botto: a solar thermoelectric generator.” Eur. J. Phys. 29 (2008) 1295-1300.