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:12/15/2016)... AUBURN HILLS, Mich. , Dec. 15, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... simply unlocking car doors or starting the engine. Continental ... 2017 in Las Vegas . Through ... PASE (Passive Start and Entry) and biometric elements, the ... the field of vehicle personalization and authentication. ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... According to a new market research report "Emotion Detection and Recognition Market ... Application Area, End User, And Region - Global Forecast to 2021", published by ... 2016 to USD 36.07 Billion by 2021, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate ... ... MarketsandMarkets Logo ...
(Date:12/6/2016)... Dec. 6, 2016 Valencell , the leading ... has seen a third consecutive year of triple digit ... in 2016 with a 360 percent increase in companies ... increase was driven by sales of its wrist and ... in its technology for hearables for fitness and healthcare ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/18/2017)... ... January 18, 2017 , ... Researchers from a new study are stating ... low enough after prostate cancer treatment, this indicates there is still remaining prostate cancer cells ... , “ The PSA test has always been an indicator of whether a man’s prostate ...
(Date:1/18/2017)... ... January 18, 2017 , ... BidMed, ... sell research and genetic testing lab equipment from two different leading institutes. This highly ... Northeast regions of the United States. This 1-day online auction will take place ...
(Date:1/18/2017)... ... January 18, 2017 , ... Thirty-six startup companies in ... by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development in 2016 as part of ... in the University City Keystone Innovation Zone and represent the highest number of awards ...
(Date:1/18/2017)... SAN DIEGO , Jan. 18, 2017  HUYA ... development of China,s pharmaceutical innovations, ... Academy of Sciences Innovation and Investment Company (referred to ... and commercializing biomedical innovations discovered by leading scientists at ... the world. HUYA is the first company ...
Breaking Biology Technology: