Researchers at Missouri University of Science and Technology have developed a relatively inexpensive and simple way to split water into hydrogen and oxygen through a new electrodeposition method. The method produces highly efficient solar cells that can gather solar energy for use as fuel.
The research, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, could lead to a sizable increase in the amount of hydrogen available for fuel usage.
The Missouri S&T researchers describe their full method in a paper published today (Monday, Sept. 14, 2015) on the website of the journal Nature Materials.
“The work helps to solve the problem that solar energy is intermittent,” says Dr. Jay A. Switzer, the Donald L. Castleman/Foundation for Chemical Research Professor of Discovery at Missouri S&T. “Obviously, we cannot have the sun produce energy on one spot the entire day, but our process converts the energy into a form that is more easily stored.”
Switzer and his team use silicon wafers to absorb solar energy. The silicon is submerged in water, with the front surface exposed to a solar energy simulator and the back surface covered in electrodes to conduct the energy. The silicon has cobalt nano-islands formed onto it using a process called electrodeposition.
Unlike current research standards that cover the surface of the silicon entirely in a catalyst layer, Switzer has small clusters of cobalt catalysts dotted on the silicon’s surface. This process was found to be just as protective and produced much higher voltages.
The generated voltage from the solar rays splits liquid water into hydrogen and oxygen. Oxygen evolves at the cobalt-coated silicon electrode, and hydrogen evolves at the platinum counter electrode.
“Initially, we had set out to produce a uniform layer of metal that both catalyzed and protected the silicon, but found that this method actually produces a higher voltage and did not need an additional step that typically has to be applied to the silicon,” says Switzer. “These nano-islands of cobalt produce a much more efficient cell.”
Besides solar arrays and energy cells, Switzer sees potential usage of the results in large-scale hydrogen collection and even a fully carbon-neutral travel solution.
“If we use this process in hydrogen-fueled vehicles, the hydrogen would be used as fuel and the only thing dripping out of the tailpipe of the car would be water,” says Switzer.
The Latest on: Solar Energy Storage
via Google News
The Latest on: Solar Energy Storage
- Dominion Energy's First Battery Storage Projects Approvedon March 23, 2020 at 4:06 pm
RICHMOND, Va., Feb. 25, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Dominion Energy Virginia received approval from the State Corporation Commission (SCC) to move forward with four battery storage pilot projects to pave the ...
- Enphase Energy Recognizes Good Faith Energy for Inc. 5000 Series Rankingon March 23, 2020 at 1:32 pm
Enphase Energy, Inc. (ENPH), a global energy technology company and the world’s leading supplier of solar microinverters, today announced that its solar installation partner, Good Faith Energy has ...
- The sky’s the limit: How solar and storage can set a post-COVID-19 exampleon March 23, 2020 at 7:21 am
How we react to the coronavirus outbreak is crucial for society as a whole and the solar and energy storage industries can lead the charge in rewriting the status quo. According to the Swedish ...
- Poor Economy Of Scale: Renewable Energy Is About More Than Government Policyon March 23, 2020 at 1:42 am
or about double the storage capacity of the entire Texas state grid. Why are utilities and governments sinking so much money into giant batteries? In two words: wind and solar. Renewable energy ...
- Energy storage boom stalls in Europeon March 22, 2020 at 11:08 pm
Europe’s energy storage boom stalled last year due to a slowdown in large-scale schemes designed to store clean electricity from major renewable energy projects, according to the European Association ...
- Shining a light on solaron March 22, 2020 at 8:15 pm
The latest Clean Energy statistics show Mandurah is the state’s top solar suburb ... “Community batteries don’t only provide immediate, cost-effective solar storage options, they also have a ...
- Scaling Energy Storage Is a Climate Action Enableron March 19, 2020 at 2:16 am
Global solar demand has skyrocketed in part due to efforts such as SunShot that helped reduce the cost of wide deployment. But support for R&D is only part of what needs to be done. For energy storage ...
- Lacuna Sustainable Investments raises $50,000,000 for investment in early-stage solar and storage development projectson March 18, 2020 at 3:00 am
SAN FRANCISCO, March 18, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Lacuna Sustainable Investments ('Lacuna') is excited to announce that is has successfully raised ...
- Beijing Jingneng Plans to Build 5GW Clean Energy & Storage Planton March 16, 2020 at 9:32 pm
Sign up to receive the Green Daily daily newsletter and follow us @climate. Beijing Jingneng Power Co., a Chinese state-owned utility, plans to invest 23 billion yuan ( $3.3 billion) in a project that ...
- These new battery technologies could be the future of energy storageon March 15, 2020 at 12:33 am
The price for lithium ion batteries, the leading energy storage technology, has remained too high. Researchers are exploring renewables like wind and solar to compete with fossil fuels.
via Bing News