Shining light at the beaker of water creates hydrogen bubbles.
The film-like solid catalyst developed by Korean researchers uses regular light to convert water into hydrogen.
The catalyst turns black during the reaction and then returns to its original white color, which means it can be reused multiple times.
"We observed that hydrogen was created for a period of 48 hours in light. Hydrogen output stayed the same, so we believe the technology can be used for a long time without the catalyst losing performance."
Under good lighting, a gram of the material used in the catalyst can create 30 milligrams of hydrogen per hour.
The new catalyst is 50 percent more efficient than existing systems.
And because it's made of copper instead of expensive platinum, it is much more cost-effective.
Also, retrieving hydrogen from water using light does not produce any harmful byproducts.
"At present, most hydrogen is made through a methane reformation technique. This is energy-intensive and generates a lot of byproducts like greenhouse gases. The new technology only produces hydrogen."
The global market size for hydrogen was estimated to have surpassed 115 billion U.S. dollars in 2017.
With further research, the scientists expect the new technology to contribute to the industrial level production of the new energy source.
Park Se-young, Arirang News.