Solar Energy Be Used to Create Hydrogen Fuels

Can Solar Energy Be Used to Create Hydrogen Fuels? ‘Artificial Leaf’ Is Among the Latest Technological Advances.

In two papers published this week, novel approaches to solar-powered artificial leaves and catalysts for the production of hydrogen fuels are investigated. Both processes imitate photosynthesis to make hydrogen in a more efficient and environmentally friendly manner.

A catalyst for separating water into oxygen and hydrogen was invented by researchers at the University of Michigan. The catalyst’s 9% efficiency is nearly ten times more than that of previous comparable solar water-splitting techniques.

Two technological developments are used in the study, which was published in the journal Nature, to increase the efficiency of photocatalytic water splitting. One is a more compact semiconductor that can self-heat and resist light from 160 suns. Additionally, the procedure is less expensive when the semiconductor is smaller.

According to Peng Zhou, a research fellow at the University of Michigan and the study’s first author, “We reduced the size of the semiconductor by more than 100 times compared to some semiconductors only working at low light intensity.” “Our method could manufacture hydrogen for a very low cost.”

Solar Energy Be Used to Create Hydrogen Fuels

Second, the team relied on a lower energy portion of the solar spectrum to provide heat for the reaction while using a higher energy portion of the solar spectrum to divide the water.

The researchers want to eventually produce ultrahigh purity hydrogen that may be used directly in fuel cells by furthering the process efficiency.

While this is going on, scientists at the Ecole Polytechnique F d rale de Lausanne (EPFL) have developed an artificial leaf driven by solar energy that functions similarly to a photosynthesis-like process to capture moisture from the air and transform it into hydrogen fuel.

From felt wafers created with a specific kind of glass wool, the engineers created a transparent, porous electrode. The fluorine-doped tin oxide coating, an outstanding conductor that is also simple to scale up, is applied on the felt wafers in a thin, transparent layer.

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After that, a second thin coating of semiconductor materials that absorb sunlight is applied to the felt wafers. The researchers then constructed a small chamber around the coated wafer with a membrane that could segregate the hydrogen produced during the reaction for measuring, even though the felt wafer can absorb sunlight and produce hydrogen on its own.

Although the greatest potential efficiency of the wafers is roughly 12%, the efficiency of the process was not covered in this work, which was published in Advanced Materials.

Solar Energy Be Used to Create Hydrogen Fuels

However, the results show potential for scale hydrogen production from solar energy.

According to Kevin Sivula, a chemical engineer at EPFL and the study’s primary investigator, we need to find ways to store renewable energy as chemicals that can be used as fuels and feedstocks in industry. The most plentiful renewable energy source is solar energy, and we are working to create commercially viable processes for making solar fuels.

Vishal Rana

Vishal is working as a Content Editor at Enviro360. He covers a wide range of topics, including media, energy, weather, industry news, daily news, climate, etc. Apart from this, Vishal is a sports enthusiast and loves to play cricket. Also, he is an avid moviegoer and spends his free time watching Web series and Hollywood Movies.

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