London: Researchers from the University of Lyon claimed to have found a new source of energy in the form of hydrogen gas that can be split from water with the help of a simple mixture of rock and water.
The new method accelerates the chemical reaction that would generally take geological timescales in nature, the BBC reported.
During the splitting process, a mineral called serpentine is formed when the olivine mineral strips one oxygen and hydrogen atom from an H2O molecule to release the spare hydrogen atom.
For their study, scientists heated olivine minerals in water to a couple of hundred degrees Celsius, added a little bit of aluminium oxide and placed the mix into a miniature pressure cooker, made with two diamonds that squeezed the mixture to 2,000 atmospheres pressure.
The same process happens very slowly in the rocks that form the ocean floors, where the hydrogen either reacts with carbon to form methane or is used by microbes that live deep in the rocks to sustain life deep beneath the Earth`s surface.
The study is published in the journal American Mineralogist.