The quest to develop the ‘Holy Grail’ of affordable, viable and environmentally-friendly fuels using sunlight has taken an exciting new twist.
A team of Renewable Energy experts from the University of Exeter has pioneered a new technique to produce hydrogen from sunlight to create a clean, cheap and widely-available fuel.
The team developed an innovative method to split water into its constituent parts – hydrogen and oxygen – using sunlight. The hydrogen can then be used as a fuel, with the potential to power everyday items such as homes and vehicles.
Crucially, hydrogen fuel that can be created through this synthetic photosynthesis method would not only severely reduce carbon emissions, but would also create a virtually limitless energy source.
The ground-breaking new research centres on the use of a revolutionary photo-electrode – an electrode that absorbs light before initializing electrochemical transformations to extract the hydrogen from water – made from nanoparticles of the elements lanthanum, iron and oxygen.
The researchers believe this new type of photo-electrode is not only cheap to produce, but can also be recreated on a larger scale for mass and worldwide use.
The research is published in leading journal, Scientific Reports.
Govinder Pawar, lead author on the paper and based at the University of Exeter’s Environment and Sustainability Institute on the Penryn Campus in Cornwall said: “With growing economies and population, fossil fuels will not be able to sustain the global energy demand in a “clean” manner as they are being exhausted at an alarming rate.
“Alternative renewable fuels sources must be found which can sustain the global energy demand. Hydrogen is a promising alternative fuel source capable of replacing fossil fuels as it has a higher energy density than fossil fuels (more than double), zero carbon emissions and the only by-product is water.”
At present, around 85 per cent of the global energy provisions come from the burning of fossil fuels. Therefore the need and desire to find a sustainable, cost-effective renewable fuel source is growing in urgency.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the sun is earth’s most abundant renewable energy source, with the potential to provide 100,000 terawatts of power each year – meaning one hour’s worth of solar energy is equal to an entire year of total energy consumption worldwide.
However, efforts to produce efficient stable semiconductor material, in order to effectively convert sunlight to a storable widespread energy source, have so far proved elusive.
One of the most significant hindrances to the development of viable solar energy has been an inability to produce a semiconducting material suitable for the process.
In this new research, the team utilised lanthanum iron oxide to create a semiconducting material that gave the ideal results for the production of hydrogen from water using sunlight, making it the strongest candidate yet for renewable hydrogen generation.
Govinder Pawar added: “We have shown that our LaFeO3 photo-electrode has ideal band alignments needed to split water into its constituents (H2 and O2) spontaneously, without the need of an external bias. Moreover, our material has excellent stability where after 21 hours of testing it does not degrade, ideal for water splitting purpose. We are currently working on further improving our material to make it more efficient to produce more hydrogen.”
Learn more: Research gives new ray of hope for solar fuel
The Latest on: Water splitting
via Google News
The Latest on: Water splitting
- Boil advisory issued following Opelouas water line break on December 24, 2018 at 2:30 pm
Officials reported that a 12″ main ductile line at the City Water Plant split around 8:00 am spraying water from the pipe break. City workers are currently working to repair the break. […]
- How fallout from his budget deal with Democrats led to Hardwick's split with GOP on December 23, 2018 at 4:02 am
Most recently, aside from the budget deal, Hardwick has also sided with the Democrats to keep Amherst Democratic Party Chairman Jerome Schad as Erie County Water Authority chairman. But members of ... […]
- Interview: The Split Seconds’ Drew Champion fills us in on 2018 their most bestest, funest, excitingest year ever! on December 22, 2018 at 10:07 pm
When I started The Split Seconds I never thought we would do more than play ... we were running late to open for The Menzingers in New York and I had to piss in a water bottle in the back of our van a... […]
- Lung-inspired device produces clean fuel from water on December 22, 2018 at 5:56 am
Inspired by human lungs, researchers at Stanford University have created a bio-mimicking device that makes clean hydrogen fuel by splitting water molecules. The lung-like apparatus could improve the e... […]
- Cardi B and Offset Reunite on a Jet Ski in Puerto Rico After Split on December 21, 2018 at 4:41 pm
Cardi B and Offset were spotted together in Puerto Rico on Friday, December 21, two weeks after she announced their split. TMZ published photos of ... who drove the jet ski through the water. The form... […]
- This Cool-as-Hell, Lung-Inspired Design Can Turn Water Into Fuel on December 21, 2018 at 1:48 pm
Their design, published in the journal Joule, draws on the unique structure of the lung’s alveoli to split water into hydrogen and oxygen molecules - and then re-use the oxygen molecules as fuel for t... […]
- Canadian hydrogen fuel research leads to development of new water-splitting catalyst on December 21, 2018 at 12:14 am
U of T researchers may have found a cheaper and simpler way to produce hydrogen from water. Hydrogen fuel research conducted by a group of researchers from the University of Toronto (U of T) have deve... […]
- City’s Dispute With SDG&E Could Add $48M to the Cost of Pure Water Project on December 20, 2018 at 1:33 pm
the city deputy chief operating officer who oversees the water department. For months, the mayor’s administration has gradually drifted apart from SDG&E, one of the region’s largest employers. The big... […]
- Device that works like a lung makes clean fuel from water on December 20, 2018 at 8:09 am
Yi Cui at Stanford University and his colleagues set out to mimic human lungs to increase the efficiency of electrocatalysts, materials that increase the rate of chemical reactions used to produce hyd... […]
via Bing News