New NUIG Study Identifies Hydrogen Processes to Decarbonise Ireland’s Energy Supply

By Blathnaid O’Dea

A new study by three NUI Galway academics on how renewable energy sources can generate storable hydrogen fuel through water electrolysis has been published by the world leading multi-disciplinary science journal, Nature Energy

The three NUI Galway academics involved are Dr. Wenming Tong, Dr. Roghayeh Sadeghi Erami and Dr. Pau Farràs Costa.

NUI Galway’s recently published strategy focuses on sustainability as one of its core objectives.  Hydrogen has experienced a massive growth in interest with large car manufacturers and oil and gas companies showing a clear shift of their investment strategies towards it.  Hydrogen is a clean energy vector and is seen as a key component in the energy mix to meet the targets of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals which relate to climate change mitigation.

The NUI Galway study looks at how electric current in the form of electrolysis can be applied to water to produce a chemical reaction to produce hydrogen and how the renewable energy source can be stored. The study analyses current costly methods of electrolysis such as used in the desalination of sea water and addresses potential other approaches that yield stronger results to deliver more sustainable energy production and storage. Potable and clean water is a precious resource which should not be used to produce fuels.

The lead author of the study, Dr Pau Farràs Costa of the Energy Research Centre at the Ryan Institute of NUI Galway, said: “Hydrogen is one of the world’s most exciting fuels and can be the key to unlock Ireland’s energy needs for the next 50 years….. With the right vision and drive, Ireland can be a world leader in developing new clean technologies as it doesn’t have other major energy industries to displace.”

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