A new solar panel uses sunlight to generate hydrogen from the moisture in the air.

Scientists at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium say they have created a solar panel that can produce up to 250 litres of hydrogen gas every day.

They claim it works so quickly it is even possible to can see hydrogen bubbles appearing within the panel as sunlight hits its surface

Researchers estimate around 20 of the panels are required to produce enough heat and electricity to get through the winter in a well insulated house and still have electricity to spare.

A new prototype will soon be installed in a real-world setting to test whether it can adequately heat a home – a typical household is expected to need around four cubic metres of storage.

Researchers are keen to assure future users the risk of accidents is no greater than with natural gas and note it will offer stable and predictable energy bills for users.

Professor Johan Martens said: “It’s actually a unique combination of physics and chemistry. It the beginning we had 0.1% yield and we really had to search for those hydrogen molecules, today you see them coming up in bubbles, so that’s ten years of work, always improving, looking for problems, so you end up with something that can work effectively.”


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