An international team of researchers has converted ethanol into green hydrogen and acetal, which is used in a number of industries and can be found in food, textiles, photography and rubber.

The project, called GH2 Project and funded by Horizon Europe, looked into the economic viability of simultaneously producing acetal and green hydrogen. It estimated that the production of one kilogram of green hydrogen from 87 litres of ethanol can also provide 72 litres of acetal.

“The GH2 project seeks to harvest solar energy, bioethanol and water to induce a chemical reaction that produces green hydrogen and high-value C2+ chemicals,” explains Dr Oleksandr Savateev. The aim is to reduce the cost of green hydrogen by generating it together with valuable chemicals like acetal.

The researchers designed a metal-free graphic carbon nitride photocatalyst for the conversion process, during which hydrogen is extracted from a solution of bioethanol in water using solar energy.

The findings were published in an article titled “Increasing Profitability of Ethanol Photoreforming by Simultaneous Production of H2 and Acetal” in the Global Challenges journal.