Navigation Links
Understanding the science of solar-based energy: more researchers are better than one

View a video of MIT scientists explaining how they recently discovered a catalyst that produces oxygen gas from water.

With the assistance of a five-year $20 million award from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) Chemical Bonding Center (CBC) project, called "Powering the Planet," will increase the number of its collaborators to fulfill its goal of efficiently and economically converting solar energy and water into hydrogen and oxygen fuels.

The hydrogen and oxygen gases produced will be usable by a fuel cell, where they will react to reform water, generating electricity for powering an electric car or other devices. The gases may also be used as a source of energy after the sun goes down, and will generate a carbon-neutral or oil-free source of energy scalable to meet future global energy demands.

One of the center's key goals is to enhance U.S. economic competitiveness in the area of renewable energy.

"We have a very talented and dedicated group of students who are ready and able to tackle the fundamental chemistry problems that must be solved before it will be feasible to produce clean solar fuels on a large scale," said Harry B. Gray, Arnold O. Beckman professor of chemistry at Caltech and leader of the CBC. "We already have several industrial partners, and we intend to add more, as we want to move the new materials and processes invented by our center into the commercial arena as rapidly as possible."

More than 17 researchers and their students from 12 institutions located throughout the U.S. and Switzerland participate in the CBC.

The center is focusing its research efforts on developing a nanoscale-sized system that captures sunlight and converts it to an electrical charge. The interaction of the system's electrical charge and an oxygen catalyst produce oxygen gas and positively charged hydrogen ions or protons from water. The electrical charge, in combination with a hydrogen catalyst and protons, produces hydrogen gas.

"These transformations will require the development of new models for understanding multiple electron and proton transfer reactions and catalyst design," said Luis Echegoyen, director of NSF's Division of Chemistry.

The center has already obtained significant research results.

Daniel G. Nocera, the Henry Dreyfus professor of energy and professor of chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and one of the center's collaborators, recently announced that he and his postdoctoral associate, Matthew W. Kanan, successfully developed a new catalyst that produces oxygen gas from water.

In use with an electrical conducting glass electrode, the new catalyst, made from the earth-abundant materials cobalt and phosphate, produces oxygen gas from neutral pH water using a relatively low potential at room temperature and pressure (see video).

Even though the catalytic reaction is still not yet fully understood, its discovery moves the center one step closer to reaching its goal of using the sun's energy and water as a renewable energy source.

Nocera's and Kanan's research was published in the July 31, 2008, online issue of the journal Science.

"I strongly support Chemistry's CBC program as a way to tackle grand challenge problems with potentially transformative societal impacts such as sustainable energy. The Nocera work and the 'Powering the Planet' Center is an excellent example of this," said Tony Chan, assistant director for NSF's Mathematical and Physical Sciences Directorate.


Contact: Jennifer A. Grasswick
National Science Foundation

Related biology technology :

1. Prometic reaches understanding for commercialisation of several biopharmaceutical products and strategic investment
2. Scientists fix bugs in our understanding of evolution
3. Digirad Corporation Signs Letter of Understanding With Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
4. March of Dimes Awards $250,000 Prize to Leaders in Understanding Embryonic Development
5. Understanding of actuator properties of carbon nanotubes bring micro machines closer
6. GeneGo and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Collaborate to Advance Understanding of Cystic Fibrosis
7. Human Genome Sciences Invites Investors to Listen to Webcast of Presentation at Thomas Weisel Conference
8. Preliminary Report of American Biotech Labs HIV Study Featured in Inaugural Issue of Journal of the Science of Healing Outcomes
9. Start-Up and Emerging Biotech Companies Will Tell Their Stories at Biosciences Showcase Planned for MichBio Expo
10. Neurocrine Biosciences to Present at Thomas Weisel Healthcare Conference and the NewsMakers in the Biotech Industry Conference
11. US Oncology Appoints Stephen Smith Vice President/General Manager Research and Personalized Science Services
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Understanding the science of solar-based energy: more researchers are better than one
(Date:10/13/2015)... the United States , Canada ... of all new cases of kidney cancer.   --> ... and Europe .  PRCC represents about 14% of ... China MediTech Limited ("Chi-Med") (AIM: HCM) today announces that Hutchison MediPharma ... have completed enrolment in a global Phase II study of savolitinib ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... -- MiMedx Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: MDXG ), the leading ... processes to develop and market advanced products and therapies ... Ophthalmic, and the Dental sectors of healthcare, announced today ... the Company has been dismissed by the court.  ... stated, "As we suspected, this case was brought by ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... , October 12, 2015 cell surface ... billion by 2022, according to a new report by Grand ... to rise in incidence of oncology diseases and other cell-associated ... is expected to reach USD 6.49 billion by 2022, according ... growth in demand can be attributed to rise in incidence ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... SAN DIEGO , Oct. 12, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... for debilitating allergic and inflammatory diseases and conditions, ... Series A preferred stock financing. Concurrent with the ... also entered into a Loan and Security Agreement ... borrow up to $7 million. Patara will use ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:9/26/2015)...  Results of a TactioRPM pilot project in ... the Stanford Medicine X Conference. In a presentation ... Health Devices and Pharmacogenomics", Roger Simard , ... how senior patients equipped with connected health devices ... the TactioRPM remote patient monitoring platform were empowered ...
(Date:9/10/2015)... LONDON , Sept. 10, 2015 This ... dominate wearable technology products today, and emerging sensor types ... have risen through the peak of the wearable technology ... the slide to disillusionment. The common feature with all ... the key enabler for their most useful functions. Sensors ...
(Date:9/10/2015)... 2015 Pursuant Health has collaborated with ... an interactive, image-based health risk assessment (HRA) optimized ... The unique assessment quantifies user results into an ... an individual,s biological age based on personal health ... the kiosk. Comprised of age, gender, ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):