It’s known from high school that aluminum can split water in hydrogen and oxygen, with aluminum hydroxide as byproduct. A team of Purdue University researchers has developed a mechanism that uses this reaction between aluminum, water and a liquid alloy to extract hydrogen directly from seawater and use it in boats and ships.
It’s also known that diesel engines in those are a major cause of air pollution above oceans and seas.
The aluminum hydroxide can be turned back into aluminum by using solar or wind power, and hence the energy that system generates is completely renewable. This can also be of help through the fact that hydrogen doesn’t have to be stored in pressurized tanks anymore (the industry standard for containing it, for the moment).
Solar or wind power may not be enough to recycle all the aluminum needed onboard to run a boat properly, but carrying aluminum may prove much more efficient than carrying hydrogen, so the concept is again on the winning side.
The only issue is that the engines are to be retrofitted to run on hydrogen rather than on diesel, which may pose some issues with the need of having them modified. Moreover, burning hydrogen directly doesn’t yield much efficiency. The ideal solution would be to change the diesel engines with powerful electric motors, and the problem would be solved forever.
Couldn’t the same principle be applied to cars?