Off Grid Home Forums Technical Discussion Purified water via electrolysis? Micro Hydro water purification? Ideas

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    I wonder if there is a water purification method where electrolysis is used to separate hydrogen from oxygen which floats out of the impure water to be piped somewhere else then burned(which then produces pure water as exhaust in return) A side benefit of this would be heat production. Drawback is huge electrical demand or cost. A micro hydro site would be perfect for this type of water purification.


    I’m not a chemical engineer, but I’ve been experimenting with and studying electrolysis of water for around a decade now.

    Can it be used as a purification method? Yes it can. But there are factors that you have to consider that you may not know about.

    Here are some challenges that I found:

    The most common and easiest to use electrolyte is salt. In the electrolysis process, the electrolyte is not always a catalyst. So in the case of using salt what happens is that it produces hydrogen gas and chlorine gas (highly toxic).

    I hear that baking soda (sodium bicarbinate) is a better electrolyte, but I haven’t tried it, or looked into it yet.

    Also, unless you have electrodes made of a catalyst (like platinum) they also pollute the mixture and cause all kinds of issues (not to mention that they die a quick and disgusting death).

    So it can be done, but to make it a good scenario you’d have to find electrodes that are nearly perfect catalysts, and you’d also have to find an electrolyte that is a catalyst. I’ve done many experiments using salt water. It just produces hydrogen and a poisonous gas. When you burn it, it does turn into water again, but it robs oxygen from the atmosphere to do it.

    So you couldn’t use this method inside a home unless it was well vented for several reasons.

    It is also true that it takes a great deal of energy to make it happen. You could get some of that energy back by using the heat for some other purpose. I can also tell you that you have to carefully design your rig. Over heating rigs can and will explode if the hydrogen gets hot enough and is allowed to combine with oxygen.

    So, I’m not saying that it’s impossible. I’m not even saying that it is impractical. I’m just saying that this is what I have learned about this process over that last decade or so of self study.

    I also have a friend that swears by his water distiller unit. Apparently they cost about $400 or so. Perhaps that would be an alternative solution?

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