Pollution is one of the most pertaining topics of the town. It puts not only lives on the planet but also the environment at stake owing to its hazardous effects. “Can we benefit from the polluted air?” may seem like a wrong question. But now, the researchers from the University of Antwerp and KU Leuven have successfully developed a system that can not only purify the air but also generate power at the same time.
The air purifier device is small in size with two sections separated using a membrane. On one side of the device, the air is purified whereas on the other side the hydrogen gas is produced at the same time from the degradation products. The hydrogen gas that is produced is stored for later use as fuel. The storage concept is already being used in some of the hydrogen buses.
This new technological advancement has been created mainly to clean and purify the air as well as produce an alternative source of energy. The device is functional only in the presence of light. The membrane used to partition the sections is made using nanomaterials. These materials act as a catalyst for the hydrogen gas production by breaking down the polluting substances in the air.
Previously, the nanoparticles were used to separate hydrogen from water and now it is being used efficiently to clean the polluted air. Though the technology may seem complex, it is one of the simplest devices developed till date. In short, the current technology functions are similar to that of the solar panels but the only difference here is that the electricity is not generated but instead the air is cleaned first and the hydrogen gas is produced later.
For now, the device is only a few square centimeter in size. In the later stages, the technology is expected to be built so big that it can be used for various industrial applications. The researchers are looking at improving the materials being used for making the device efficient and use more sunlight to enhance the reactions.
In the future, the new device can prove to be a bonus as a renewable energy source.