Water enthusiasts often debate whether hydrogen water is superior to alkaline water. However, many people are unaware of the differences between the machines that produce these types of water. In this article, we will delve into the workings of both alkaline water systems and hydrogen water systems, exploring their pros and cons. By understanding these systems, you will be empowered to make an informed decision about the type of water that suits your needs best.
Electrolysis: The Key Process:
To comprehend how these water systems operate, it is important to grasp the concept of electrolysis. Electrolysis is the decomposition of water into its natural elements through the application of an electrical current. This process involves a cathode (negative electrode) and an anode (positive electrode). Reduction takes place at the cathode, where hydrogen gas is produced, while oxidation occurs at the anode, resulting in the generation of oxygen gas. The OIL RIG acronym (Oxidation Is Loss, Reduction Is Gain) serves as a helpful reminder of the electron transfer during electrolysis.
Understanding Alkaline Water Systems:
Alkaline water systems, such as alkaline water ionizers, rely on electrolysis to produce water with a higher pH. The cathode generates hydrogen gas by attracting electrons, which combine with protons from water molecules. Consequently, the water molecules become hydroxide ions (OH-) and contribute to the alkalinity of the water. The pH elevation is an unintended outcome of the hydrogen gas production. On the anode side, hydroxide ions are oxidized, resulting in the formation of oxygen gas. While these systems were primarily designed to create alkaline water, they also produce a form of hydrogen-rich water called electrolyzed reduced water.
Pros and Cons of Alkaline Water Systems:
Alkaline water systems have several advantages, including their long-established technology and the ability to produce large volumes of hydrogen water quickly. They can also generate disinfectant water with hypochlorous acid, albeit not optimally. However, these systems have drawbacks, such as inconsistent and unreliable dissolved hydrogen levels. Their effectiveness depends heavily on the conductivity of the source water, and they often exhibit lower dissolved hydrogen concentrations. Additionally, the higher pH of the water can promote scaling and calcium precipitation, and fine-tuning the flow rate is necessary to optimize dissolved hydrogen levels.
Introducing Hydrogen Water Generators:
Hydrogen water generators, also known as hydrogen infusion machines, represent the latest iteration of water machines on the market. These systems utilize specialized PEM (Proton Exchange Membrane) or SPE (Solid Polymer Electrolyte) water cells to produce hydrogen water. Unlike alkaline water systems, hydrogen water generators do not alter the pH of the water. They can produce therapeutic concentrations of dissolved hydrogen more consistently, regardless of source water conditions. These machines also incorporate dissolver technology to enhance hydrogen dissolution into the water.
How Hydrogen Water Generators Work:
Hydrogen water generators employ PEM or SPE membranes, which allow the transfer of hydrogen cations (protons) and electrons across the membrane. The anode, similar to conventional electrolysis, oxidizes hydroxide ions, resulting in the production of oxygen gas. However, the unique characteristics of PEM membranes enable the transfer of hydrogen cations towards the cathode, contributing to continuous hydrogen gas production. At the cathode, electrons from the cathode combine with hydrogen cations, forming hydrogen atoms that subsequently bond together to create molecular hydrogen. Depending on the type of generator, hydrogen gas is either dissolved immediately into the water or transferred to a dissolver chamber.
Pros and Cons of Hydrogen Water Generators:
Hydrogen water generators offer numerous advantages, including the ability to achieve therapeutic hydrogen levels with less water consumption. They are not reliant on source water conductivity and incorporate dissolver technology to enhance hydrogen dissolution. These systems provide consistent levels of dissolved hydrogen and have the potential to produce higher concentrations of hydrogen. They are also simpler to use, require less maintenance, and have minimal influence on the pH of the drinking water. However, they may have lower dispensing flow rates and limited applications for cleaning and descaling.
When considering alkaline water systems versus hydrogen water generators, it is crucial to weigh the pros and cons of each. Alkaline water systems have a long-established history but exhibit limitations in terms of dissolved hydrogen levels and pH regulation. On the other hand, hydrogen water generators offer advantages such as consistent therapeutic hydrogen concentrations, improved hydrogen dissolution, and simpler maintenance. By understanding the processes and evaluating the specific benefits and drawbacks, you can make an informed choice regarding the water system that aligns with your preferences and requirements.
In conclusion, the decision between alkaline water systems and hydrogen water generators depends on individual needs and priorities. Both systems have their strengths and weaknesses, and a thorough understanding of their workings enables you to choose the system that best suits your goals for drinking hydrogen water.