How Heat Becomes Hydrogen

More than half energy produced annually—whether it’s heat, gas, biomass, or methane—is wasted. Harvesting the wasted  heat energy could reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 17 percent. Researchers from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Penn State are looking for new, environmentally friendly ways to harvest and recycle this wasted energy in an effort to create hydrogen gas.

“Existing methods are already very effective at making hydrogen gas,” says Bruce Logan, Evan Pugh Professor of Environmental Engineering. “The problem is that these methods consume fossil fuels in order to generate enough energy to create the hydrogen gas.”

By producing hydrogen gas via waste heat, the researchers eliminate the need for fossil fuels in production.

“Since the new system runs on waste heat, it is effectively carbon neutral and fossil fuel neutral,” says Logan.