Waste Heat Energy Harvesting by Use of BaTiO3 for Pyroelectric Hydrogen Generation

Generating Hydrogen from waste heat is key to reducing energy waste in a number of processess.

(De Gruyter) – The pyroelectric effect is the spontaneous polarization of a dielectric material with respect to a temperature fluctuation. The application of the pyroelectric effect for hydrogen generation by water electrolysis was evaluated as it relates to the surface chemistry of the material. Hydrogen’s potential for chemical energy storage and later power generation via fuel cells or in the synthesis of fuels can be harnassed in subsequent processes.

Due to its good chemical stability and adjustable ferroelectric properties BaTiO3 is the most intensively studied ferroelectric material. The authors investigated whether direct pyroelectric hydrogen generation by electrolysis could be achieved on a large scale. BaTiO3 single crystals were ground and subject to a polarization procedure to parallelize the randomly oriented dipole moments and thus increase the pyroelectric functionality. The resulting BaTiO3 particles were then enclosed into a container with distilled water and exposed to a cyclical temperature change. The authors observed 300 Vol.–ppb of pyroelectrical generated hydrogen with the change in temperature.

This simple setup offers proof-of-concept that pyroelectric materials may be used to generate hydrogen from water with the help of low grade waste heat.


Edited for Content and Length by Dr. Matthew A. Hood.

The original full article can be found at De Gruyter in the journal Energy Harvesting and Systems.

DOI: 10.1515/ehs-2016-0009

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