Challenges and Opportunities for Green Hydrogen Production
One of the greatest challenges we are facing in the 21st century is our ability to provide sustainable energy sources to meet the demands for quality of life and economic growth. As most of the energy today is provided from fossil fuels, huge amounts of CO2 and other greenhouse gases are emitted to the atmosphere, with negative effects on the environment. Addressing this energy challenge should cover supply and demand, security, and environmental concerns. In this context, the hydrogen economy is gaining momentum worldwide, as it can help tackling various critical energy challenges while also strengthening energy security.
Of special interest to the region is the production of hydrogen using the available resources. In 1982, it was found that RuO2-loaded CdS-particles dispersed in aqueous sulfide solutions could split H2S into hydrogen and sulfur under visible light illumination, which indicated the possibility of operating industrial procedures for H2S splitting. From a thermodynamic viewpoint, the direct decomposition of H2S requires much less energy than H2O splitting indicating that H2S decomposition is theoretically a more favorable route for H2 generation. After a general overview, I will present some of the work we are doing on materials and process for producing green hydrogen, focused on photocatalytic water splitting and hydrogen sulfide conversion. A combined computational modeling-experimental approach is used for this purpose, in which DFT calculations allow to investigate reaction mechanisms and to predict unknown properties, guiding the search for the optimal photocatalytic material. Results on our work on materials for high-capacity, reliable-availability H2 storage including storage in porous media (MOFs and hybrid materials) will also be presented. Finally, I will give some perspectives on key challenges and opportunities for large-scale hydrogen utilization.
Prof. Lourdes Vega
Professor Lourdes Vega is the Founder and Director of the Research and Innovation Center on CO2 and hydrogen (RICH Center) at Khalifa University and the editor in Chief of the Journal of Molecular Liquids. She is an Elected Member of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Academy of Scientist and of the Academy of Mathematics, Physical Chemistry and Natural Sciences of Granada.
Professor Vega holds a PhD in Physics, with 30+ years of professional experience in Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, in Research, Teaching, Innovation and Strategy. She has developed her career in academia and industry, in Europe, USA and the Middle-East, being internationally recognized for her work in molecular thermodynamics and computational modeling, combined with advanced experimental techniques, applied to clean energy and sustainable processes. Among other contributions, she is the creator of the molecular-based soft-SAFT equation of state. Current areas of focus include CO2 capture and utilization, hydrogen production, storage and utilization, alternative low global warming potential refrigerants and water treatment.
In 2020, she received the Mohammed Bin Rashid medal for Scientific Distinguishment for her contributions in clean energy and sustainability. She has also received other numerous awards for her success in bringing fundamental science to the market, including 200+ publications, 2 books, 10 commercialized products and 5 patents under exploitation.