Navigation Links
Nanocrystals and nickel catalyst substantially improve light-based hydrogen production
Date:11/8/2012

Hydrogen is an attractive fuel source because it can easily be converted into electric energy and gives off no greenhouse emissions. A group of chemists at the University of Rochester is adding to its appeal by increasing the output and lowering the cost of current light-driven hydrogen-production systems.

The work, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, was led by chemistry professors Richard Eisenberg, Todd Krauss, and Patrick Holland, and included graduate students Zhiji Han and Fen Qiu. Their paper will be published later this month (Nov. 23) in the journal Science.

The chemists say their work advances what is sometimes considered the "holy grail" of energy scienceefficiently using sunlight to provide clean, carbon-free energy for vehicles and anything that requires electricity.

One disadvantage of current methods of hydrogen production has been the lack of durability, but the Rochester scientists were able to overcome that problem by incorporating nanocrystals. "Organic molecules are typically used to capture light in photocatalytic systems," said Krauss, who has been working in the field of nanocrystals for over 20 years. "The problem is they only last hours, or, if you're lucky, a day. These nanocrystals performed without any sign of deterioration for at least two weeks."

Richard Eisenberg, the Tracy H. Harris Professor of Chemistry, has spent two decades working on solar energy systems. During that time, his systems have typically generated 10,000 instancescalled turnoversof hydrogen atoms being formed without having to replace any components. With the nanocrystals, Eisenberg and his colleagues witnessed turnovers in excess of 600,000.

The researchers managed to overcome other disadvantages of traditional photocatalytic systems. "People have typically used catalysts made from platinum and other expensive metals," Holland said. "It would be much more sustainable if we used metals that were more easily found on the Earth, more affordable, and lower in toxicity. That would include metals, such as nickel."

Holland said their work is still in the "basic research stage," making it impossible to provide cost comparisons with other energy production systems. But he points out that nickel currently sells for about $8 per pound, while the cost of platinum is $24,000 per pound.

While all three researchers say the commercial implementation of their work is years off, Holland points out that an efficient, low-cost system would have uses beyond energy. "Any industry that requires large amounts of hydrogen would benefit, including pharmaceuticals and fertilizers," said Holland.

The process developed by Holland, Eisenberg, and Krauss is similar to other photocatalytic systems; they needed a chromophore (the light-absorbing material), a catalyst to combine protons and electrons, and a solution, which in this case is water. Krauss, an expert in nanocrystals, provided cadmium selenide (CdSe) quantum dots (nanocrystals) as the chromophore. Holland, whose expertise lies in catalysis and nickel research, supplied a nickel catalyst (nickel nitrate). The nanocrystals were capped with DHLA (dihydrolipoic acid) to make them soluble, and ascorbic acid was added to the water as an electron donor.

Photons from a light source excite electrons in the nanocrystals and transfer them to the nickel catalyst. When two electrons are available, they combine on the catalyst with protons from water, to form a hydrogen molecule (H2).

This system was so robust that it kept producing hydrogen until the source of electrons was removed after two weeks. "Presumably, it could continue even longer, but we ran out of patience!" said Holland.

One of the next steps will be to look at the nature of the nanocrystal. "Some nanocrystals are like M&Ms they have a core with a shell around it," said Eisenberg. "Ours is just like the core. So we need to consider if they would they work better if they were enclosed in shells."


'/>"/>
Contact: Peter Iglinski
peter.iglinski@rochester.edu
585-273-4726
University of Rochester
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology technology :

1. Research on nanocrystals to move from lab to market
2. Novel technique to synthesize nanocrystals that harvest solar energy
3. Nanotechnology for Drug Delivery: Global Market for Nanocrystals
4. Nanocrystals make dentures shine
5. On the road to plasmonics with silver polyhedral nanocrystals
6. Arecor Awarded Biomedical Catalyst Funding Towards £1.3 Million Project
7. Creabilis Receives Prestigious Technology Strategy Board Biomedical Catalyst Award
8. Penn team and colleagues create a cheaper and cleaner catalyst for burning methane
9. Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst to Welcome Cambridge University Researchers
10. Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst Opens With Exciting Year Ahead
11. Will new methods that increase blood flow to bone implants improve viability of engineered bone tissue?
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Nanocrystals and nickel catalyst substantially improve light-based hydrogen production
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016 ... 2016;12(1):22-8 http://doi.org/10.17925/OHR.2016.12.01.22 Published recently ... peer-reviewed journal from touchONCOLOGY, Andrew D Zelenetz ... of cancer care is placing an increasing burden ... expensive biologic therapies. With the patents on many ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... line of intelligent tools designed, tuned and optimized exclusively for Okuma CNC machining ... Chicago. The result of a collaboration among several companies with expertise in toolholding, ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... DUBLIN , June 22, 2016 Research ... and Global Markets" report to their offering. ... $39.4 billion in 2014 from $29.3 billion in 2013. The market ... (CAGR) of 13.8% from 2015 to 2020, increasing from $50.6 billion ... and projected product forecasts during the forecast period (2015 to 2020) ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... SAN DIEGO , June 22, 2016   ... the first pluripotent stem cell-derived islet replacement therapy for ... two presentations at ISSCR 2016 Annual Meeting.  ISSCR 2016, ... 22nd to 25th at Moscone West in San Francisco.  ... Details of the presentations are as follows:Event: , Focus ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:6/9/2016)... ISTANBUL , June 9, 2016  Perkotek an innovation leader in attendance control ... to seamlessly log work hours, for employers to make sure the right employees are ... Logo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160609/377486LOGO ... ... ...
(Date:6/2/2016)... 2016 The Department of Transport Management ... 44 million US Dollar project, for the , ... Personalization, Enrolment, and IT Infrastructure , to ... and implementation of Identity Management Solutions. Numerous renowned international vendors ... Decatur was selected for the most compliant and ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... 2016 Ampronix facilitates superior patient care by providing unparalleled technology to leaders ... is the latest premium product recently added to the range of products distributed by ... ... ... LCD Medical Display- Ampronix News ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):