Navigation Links
Catalysts that produce 'green' fuel
Date:3/12/2013

The energy produced by solar panels, be it heat or electricity, has to be used right away. It is hard to store and preserve and also its transportation can be rather complicated. Creating solar cells capable of producing energy in an easily storable and transportable way, that is to say fuel, is therefore the future challenge of solar energy. For this reason the scientists at SISSA are working on a catalyst that imitates and improves what nature has been able to do for millions of years.

Plants turn solar energy into sugars, the true "green" fuel, through photosynthesis. In such process a key role is performed by catalysts, molecules that "cut and paste" other molecules, and that in this specific case oxidize water, that is to say separate the hydrogen from the oxygen. Hydrogen (already a fuel itself, yet very hard to handle) is used at a later stage in the synthesis processes that produce sugars from hydrogen and carbon atoms. But scientists are seeking to obtain artificially the same typology of process by using inorganic catalysts, which are faster and more resistant than natural ones (which are very slow: just think of how much time a tree needs to grow). Effective yet costly and limited materials already exist in nature.

"The crucial part of artificial photosynthesis is water oxidation. We have simulated the way a molecule of Ru4-plyoxometalate (Ru4-POM) functions is this process. Such complex reaction requires catalysts just like the natural process does", explains Simone Piccinin, a researcher of SISSA and of Istituto Officina dei Materiali (CNR-IOM) and lead author of the paper. Ru4-POM was chosen because its effectiveness had been already demonstrated in previous occasions in experiments carried out by the group of ITM-CNR and of Universit di Padova that was the first to synthesize the molecule and that has also taken part in this research.

"What was still missing was the comprehension of the process, so we have accordingly reproduced the electronic behavior of the molecule through numeric simulations," underlines Stefano Fabris of SISSA and of CNR-IOM, who has coordinated the theoretical work published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). "We have thus observed that the active sites of the new molecule, that is to say those that convey the reaction, are four atoms of Ruthenium."

"Ruthenium is costly are rare, but now that we know how the atoms that cause the oxidation process have to be arranged we may replace them one by one with cost-effective elements trying to obtain the same level of effectiveness of Ruthenium." concluded Fabris.


'/>"/>

Contact: Federica Sgorbissa
pressroom@sissa.it
39-040-378-7557
International School of Advanced Studies (SISSA)
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Painting with catalysts: Nano-engineered materials for detoxifying water by use of sunlight
2. KIT: Processes at the surface of catalysts
3. Biologists produce rainbow-colored algae
4. Scientists find bone-marrow environment that helps produce infection-fighting T and B cells
5. Researchers harness nature to produce the fuel of the future
6. Cows fed flaxseed produce more nutritious dairy products
7. Just add water: How scientists are using silicon to produce hydrogen on demand
8. Unlike we thought for 100 years: Molds are able to reproduce sexually
9. Synthetic and biological nanoparticles combined to produce new metamaterials
10. Engineered immune cells produce complete response in child with an aggressive pediatric leukemia
11. Bioengineered marine algae expands environments where biofuels can be produced
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:8/23/2017)... general public,s help is being enlisted in what,s thought to be the ... the human body –and are believed to affect health.  ... The Microbiome Immunity Project is the largest study to ... The project's goal is to help advance scientific knowledge of the role ... The ...
(Date:7/20/2017)... -- Delta (NYSE: DAL ) customers now can use fingerprints ... Washington National Airport (DCA). ... Delta launches biometrics to board aircraft at Reagan Washington National ... Delta,s biometric boarding pass experience that launched ... into the boarding process to allow eligible Delta SkyMiles Members who are ...
(Date:6/23/2017)... N.Y. and ITHACA, N.Y. ... ) and Cornell University, a leader in dairy research, ... with bioinformatics designed to help reduce the chances that ... With the onset of this dairy project, Cornell University ... Consortium for Sequencing the Food Supply Chain, a food ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... N.C. (PRWEB) , ... October 11, 2017 , ... ... ARCS® Foundation President Andi Purple announced Dr. Suneel I. Sheikh, the co-founder, ... ( ASTER Labs ), Inc. has been selected for membership in ARCS ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... -- VMS BioMarketing, a leading provider of patient support solutions, has ... (CNE) network, which will launch this week. The VMS CNEs ... professionals to enhance the patient care experience by delivering peer-to-peer ... care professionals to help women who have been diagnosed and ... ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... October 10, 2017 , ... San Diego-based team building ... corporate rebranding initiative announced today. The bold new look is part of a ... company moves into a significant growth period. , It will also expand its service ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... CRUZ, Calif. , Oct. 10, 2017 ... grant from the NIH to develop RealSeq®-SC (Single Cell), ... kit for profiling small RNAs (including microRNAs) from single ... Analysis Program highlights the need to accelerate development of ... "New techniques for measuring ...
Breaking Biology Technology: