Navigation Links
Champion nano-rust for producing solar hydrogen
Date:7/7/2013

In the quest for the production of renewable and clean energy, photoelectrochemical cells (PECs) constitute a sort of a Holy Grail. PECs are devices able of splitting water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen in a single operation, thanks to solar radiation. "As a matter of fact, we've already discovered this precious chalice, says Michael Grtzel, Director of the Laboratory of Photonics and Interfaces (LPI) at EPFL and inventor of dye-sensitized photoelectrochemical cells. Today we have just reached an important milestone on the path that will lead us forward to profitable industrial applications."

This week, Nature Materials is indeed publishing a groundbreaking article on the subject. EPFL researchers, working with Avner Rotschild from Technion (Israel), have managed to accurately characterize the iron oxide nanostructures to be used in order to produce hydrogen at the lowest possible cost. "The whole point of our approach is to use an exceptionally abundant, stable and cheap material: rust," adds Scott C. Warren, first author of the article.

At the end of last year, Kevin Sivula, one of the collaborators at the LPI laboratory, presented a prototype electrode based on the same principle. Its efficiency was such that gas bubbles emerged as soon as it was under a light stimulus. Without a doubt, the potential of such cheap electrodes was demonstrated, even if there was still room for improvement.

By using transmission electron microscopy (TEM) techniques, researchers were able to precisely characterize the movement of the electrons through the cauliflower-looking nanostructures forming the iron oxide particles, laid on electrodes during the manufacturing process. "These measures have helped us understand the reason why we get performance differences depending on the electrodes manufacturing process", says Grtzel.

By comparing several electrodes, whose manufacturing method is now mastered, scientists were able to identify the "champion" structure. A 10x10 cm prototype has been produced and its effectiveness is in line with expectations. The next step will be the development of the industrial process to large-scale manufacturing. A European funding and the Swiss federal government could provide support for this last part.

Evidently, the long-term goal is to produce hydrogen the fuel of the future in an environmentally friendly and especially competitive way. For Michael Grtzel, "current methods, in which a conventional photovoltaic cell is coupled to an electrolyzer for producing hydrogen, cost 15 per kilo at their cheapest. We're aiming at a 5 charge per kilo".


'/>"/>

Contact: Michael Grätzel
michael.graetzel@epfl.ch
41-216-933-112
Ecole Polytechnique Fdrale de Lausanne
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Wild bees: Champions for food security and protecting our biodiversity
2. Leadership Chair to champion tech devices for brain trauma, disease
3. Mutant champions save imperiled species from almost-certain extinction
4. Team aims to make sugarcane, sorghum into oil-producing crops
5. Use less water, producing energy and fertilizer at the same time
6. Transcription factor Lyl-1 critical in producing early T-cell progenitors
7. Temporary storage for electrons: Natural method of producing hydrogen
8. Salk scientists develop faster, safer method for producing stem cells
9. The secret sex life of the penicillin-producing fungus could make it more productive
10. 1 of the key circuits in regulating genes involved in producing blood stem cells is deciphered
11. A new technology for producing hydrogen
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/28/2017)... , February 28, 2017 News solutions for ... ... from 14 to 16 March, Materna will present ... show how seamless travel is a real benefit for passengers. ... biometrics to their passenger touch point solutions to take passengers through ...
(Date:2/22/2017)... -- With the biometrics market to exceed $10 ... that innovative and agile startups must incorporate into ... changing competitive landscape: multifactor authentication (MFA), point-of-sale (PoS), ... "Companies can no longer afford to cut corners ... Pavlakis , Industry Analyst at ABI Research. "Pairing ...
(Date:2/13/2017)... 13, 2017  RSA Conference -- RSA, a Dell ... designed to enhance fraud detection and investigation across ... RSA Fraud & Risk Intelligence Suite. The new ... additional insights from internal and external sources as ... their customers from targeted cybercrime attacks. ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:3/22/2017)... 22, 2017   Boston Biomedical , an industry ... to target cancer stemness pathways, today announced its Board ... as Chief Executive Officer, effective April 24, 2017. ... Li , M.D., FACP, who has led Boston Biomedical ... his leadership, Boston Biomedical has grown from a "garage ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... ... March 21, 2017 , ... Benchworks CEO ... Executive Officer Forum on March 23-24 in San Diego. The event is a ... diagnostic industries. , Benchworks Vice President Christian Meyer will also participate in the ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... ... March 22, 2017 , ... The Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer ... in the Administration’s recently published fiscal year 2018 budget request. , This ... (NIH) by $5.8 billion or roughly 20% of its total budget. If applied proportionally ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... 2017   Invitae Corporation (NYSE: NVTA), ... today announced the availability of a new genetic ... Atrophy (SMA) , a neuromuscular disease that is ... infants as well as a significant cause of ... announced during the American College of Medical Genetics ...
Breaking Biology Technology: