Skip to content

Saving the sun for later at night: Scientists convert solar energy to hydrogen

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
1/15/2014 (3 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Process takes its cue from natural photosynthesis

Clean, ever available solar energy has always faced a major roadblock when coming to practical application: The sun is only available for about 12 hours a day. That hurdle may have been climbed, as scientists have now built a system that converts the sun's energy into hydrogen fuel during the day. This stores the energy for later use, allowing people to power their devices even at night.

Tom Meyer at the Energy Frontier Research Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill says they have built a system that converts the sun's energy into hydrogen fuel and stores it for later use.

Tom Meyer at the Energy Frontier Research Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill says they have built a system that converts the sun's energy into hydrogen fuel and stores it for later use.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
1/15/2014 (3 years ago)

Published in Green

Keywords: Tom Meyer, solar energy, nano technology, hydrogen


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Tom Meyer at the Energy Frontier Research Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill says they have built a system that converts the sun's energy into hydrogen fuel and stores it for later use.

"So called 'solar fuels' like hydrogen offer a solution to how to store energy for nighttime use by taking a cue from natural photosynthesis," Meyer says.

Find that gift for that special someone by going here --

"Our new findings may provide a last major piece of a puzzle for a new way to store the Sun's energy - it could be a tipping point for a solar energy future," he said.

Designed by Meyer and his colleagues, along with Greg Parsons' group at North Carolina State is known as a dye-sensitized photo-electrosynthesis cell, or DSPEC, which generates hydrogen fuel by using solar energy to split water into its component parts.

Once separated, hydrogen is sequestered and stored, while the byproduct, oxygen is released into the air.

"But splitting water is extremely difficult to do," Meyer says. "You need to take four electrons away from two water molecules, transfer them somewhere else, and make hydrogen, and, once you have done that, keep the hydrogen and oxygen separated. How to design molecules capable of doing that is a really big challenge that we've begun to overcome," he said.

Investigating DSPECs for years, Meyer's design has two basic components: a molecule and a nano-particle. The molecule, called a chromophore-catalyst assembly, absorbs the sun's energy and then activates the catalyst to rip electrons away from water.

The nano-particle, to which thousands of chromophore-catalyst assemblies are tethered, is part of a film of nano-particles that shuttles the electrons away to make the hydrogen fuel.

Much work remains to be done. The system has continually crashed because either the chromophore-catalyst assembly kept breaking away from the nano-particles or because the electrons couldn't be shuttled away quickly enough to make hydrogen.

Meyer turned to the Parsons group to use a technique that coated the nano-particle, atom by atom, with a thin layer of a material called titanium dioxide. Researchers found that using even finer layers, the nano-particle could carry away electrons far more rapidly than before, with the freed electrons available to make hydrogen.

They have since designed a protective coating that keeps the chromophore-catalyst assembly tethered firmly to the nano-particle, ensuring that the assembly stayed on the surface.

Pope Francis calls for your 'prayer and action'...

---


'Help give every student and teacher Free resources for a world-class moral Catholic education'


Copyright 2017 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for FEBRUARY 2017
Comfort for the Afflicted.
That all those who are afflicted, especially the poor, refugees, and marginalized, may find welcome and comfort in our communities.


Comments


More Green

This is your warning - Scientists predict Biblical flood for California Watch

Image of An ARk Storm could turn many places in central California into lakefront property within days.

California is known for sunny weather, even in the winter. That has made the state one of the greatest destinations for people looking to ... continue reading


Is evolution a lie? The Tully Monster suggests evoluton took some strange turns Watch

Image of Go home evolution, you're drunk.

What the heck is a Tully Monster? If there was an award for the strangest animal to ever live, the Tully Monster would be on the short list ... continue reading


Can the stones literally 'cry out?' Researchers discover LIFE in crystals Watch

Image of Will stones literally

Like something out of a storybook, scientists have discovered <i>life</i> in crystals. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


They can, but should they? Scientists bringing back woolly mammoth from extinction Watch

Image of Will the woolly mammoth once again walk the earth?

Scientists are ready to bring the woolly mammoth back from extinction using new gene editing technology. The creature will be a hybrid, ... continue reading


Scientists knew California would be flooded this year, but how did they predict it? Watch

Image of ARk storms, normally rare, have become a weekly occurrence in California.

In December of 2015, Catholic Online reported that an atmospheric river event known as an ARk storm could cause catastrophic flooding in ... continue reading


Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.