Source: Newcastle University The first thermo-dynamically reversible chemical reactor capable of producing hydrogen as a pure product stream represents a 'transformational' step forward in the chemical industry.
The novel reactor avoids mixing reactant gases by transferring oxygen between reactant streams via a solid state oxygen reservoir.
This reservoir is designed to remain close to equilibrium with the reacting gas streams as they follow their reaction trajectory and thus retains a 'chemical memory' of the conditions to which it has been exposed.
The result is that hydrogen is produced as a pure product stream, removing the need for costly separation of the final products.
Hydrogen is a clean and useful energy store and can be used as a fuel, to generate electricity and can be stored and transported via the gas networks.
All processes, be they chemical, mechanical or electrical, are thermodynamically irreversible, and are less efficient that they otherwise could be.