Process uses light-harvesting nanoparticles, captures energy from ‘hot electrons’
Rice University researchers have demonstrated an efficient new way to capture the energy from sunlight and convert it into clean, renewable energy by splitting water molecules.
The technology, which is described online in the American Chemical Society journal Nano Letters, relies on a configuration of light-activated gold nanoparticles that harvest sunlight and transfer solar energy to highly excited electrons, which scientists sometimes refer to as “hot electrons.”
“Hot electrons have the potential to drive very useful chemical reactions, but they decay very rapidly, and people have struggled to harness their energy,” said lead researcher Isabell Thomann, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering and of chemistry and materials science and nanoengineering at Rice. “For example, most of the energy losses in today’s best photovoltaic solar panels are the result of hot electrons that cool within a few trillionths of a second and release their energy as wasted heat.”
Capturing these high-energy electrons before they cool could allow solar-energy providers to significantly increase their solar-to-electric power-conversion efficiencies and meet a national goal of reducing the cost of solar electricity.
In the light-activated nanoparticles studied by Thomann and colleagues at Rice’s Laboratory for Nanophotonics (LANP), light is captured and converted into plasmons, waves of electrons that flow like a fluid across the metal surface of the nanoparticles. Plasmons are high-energy states that are short-lived, but researchers at Rice and elsewhere have found ways to capture plasmonic energy and convert it into useful heat or light. Plasmonic nanoparticles also offer one of the most promising means of harnessing the power of hot electrons, and LANP researchers have made progress toward that goal in several recent studies.
Thomann and her team, graduate students Hossein Robatjazi, Shah Mohammad Bahauddin and Chloe Doiron, created a system that uses the energy from hot electrons to split molecules of water into oxygen and hydrogen. That’s important because oxygen and hydrogen are the feedstocks for fuel cells, electrochemical devices that produce electricity cleanly and efficiently.
The Latest on: Solar water-splitting technology
via Google News
The Latest on: Solar water-splitting technology
- Study brightens prospects for solar hydrogen productionon June 27, 2020 at 3:00 pm
A new study is brightening the outlook for a prospective chemical engineering process that could one day lead to greener energy alternatives than fossil fuels by harnessing sunlight to produce mass ...
- Perovskite solar pushes up efficiency in hydrogen-making cellon June 23, 2020 at 8:45 am
Over 17% efficiency stand-alone solar water splitting enabled by perovskite-silicon tandem absorbers is here. Only the abstract is available free. ANU worked with Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah ...
- Highly modular metal-organic framework-based materials show great potential for photocatalytic hydrogen productionon June 22, 2020 at 9:24 am
A metal organic framework (MOF)-based water splitting photocatalyst, developed at KAUST, has brought researchers a step closer to generating clean hydrogen fuel using sunlight. "Using solar energy ...
- Catalyzing a green futureon June 22, 2020 at 7:26 am
Highly modular metal-organic framework-based materials show great potential for photocatalytic hydrogen production.
- Low-cost direct solar-to-hydrogen ambitions see the lighton June 21, 2020 at 11:54 pm
Researchers in Australia have demonstrated rethinking solar technology and skipping electrolysers ... Over 17% Efficiency Stand-Alone Solar Water Splitting Enabled by Perovskite-Silicon Tandem ...
- PV-electrochemical water-splitting for hydrogen productionon June 16, 2020 at 10:22 pm
As for the water-splitting ... this technology soon.” The researchers discuss the device in A Bias‐Free, Stand‐Alone, and Scalable Photovoltaic–Electrochemical Device for Solar Hydrogen ...
- Australian researchers claim new record for direct ‘solar-to-hydrogen’ solar cellson June 16, 2020 at 9:09 pm
“This represents the highest efficiency achieved so far for a [photoelectrochemical] system based on inexpensive semiconductors for stand-alone solar water splitting,” the research paper says.
- Integrating nanomaterial with light-absorbing molecule powers hydrogen production from water and sunlighton June 8, 2020 at 12:01 am
developing technology for clean energy generation is a topic of global interest. Among the various methods proposed to generate clean energy, photocatalytic water splitting is showing much promise.
- Integrating nanomaterial with light-absorbing molecule powers hydrogen production from water and sunon June 7, 2020 at 5:00 pm
Among the various methods proposed to generate clean energy, photocatalytic water splitting is showing much promise. This method utilizes solar energy to split water (H2O) molecules and obtain ...
- Solar hydrogen production: Splitting water with UV is now at almost 100% quantum efficiencyon June 3, 2020 at 7:34 am
Water splitting using catalysts and sunlight, called photocatalysis has been a promising method of achieving solar hydrogen production ... New Energy and Industrial Technology Development ...
via Bing News