Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

1/15/2014 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (

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.


By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (

1/15/2014 (1 year 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'...


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'

Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2015
That human trafficking, the modern form of slavery, may be eradicated.
Evangelization: That with a missionary spirit the Christian communities of Asia may announce the Gospel to those who are still awaiting it.


More Green

Why are there more animals around Chernobyl than nearby wildlife preserves? Watch

Image of The wolf population around Chernobyl has recovered to seven times what it is in non-contaminated areas.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Scientists assessing wildlife populations around Chernobyl have learned something startling. Despite the radiation, there's more wildlife around Chernobyl than on surrounding wildlife preserves. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Scientists recently conducted a survey ... continue reading

Hurricane Joaquin heads to NE America Watch

Image of Overhead view of Hurricane Joaquin (NASA).

By Kenya Sinclair (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The National Hurricane Center reported hurricane Joaquin intensified Thursday afternoon to a Category 4, which means the wind speed ranges between 131 and 155 mph. Joaquin had maximum sustained winds at 130 mph. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - CNN reported ... continue reading

JUST IN CASE: Scientists plan to save world from giant asteroid - as in 'Armageddon' movie Watch

Image of Both the NASA and the European Space Agency plan to implant the device into the 52-foot Didymoon. The experiment will test the principle that a much larger asteroid threatening the Earth could be deflected.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

They're not saying it's going to happen -but just in case, scientists are planning a space mission to nudge an asteroid out of its orbit. You know, like in that 1998 Bruce Willis movie Armageddon. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The joint European-U.S. effort, ... continue reading

Mars revelations may reveal God's personality according to Vatican astronomer Watch

Image of Architectural Digest's winning design for a 3-D-printed habitat on Mars.


An exciting discovery found on the surface of Mars revealed details about the planet which gives people a better understanding of God's personality, Vatican astronomer Brother Consolmagno reported.  LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - NASA scientists confirmed ... continue reading

Climate Talk: Al Gore spreads the environmental gospel Watch

Image of Al Gore leads environmental training prior to Paris climate change talks.


Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore trained an army of organizers and encouraged them to promote and spread the environmental gospel prior to climate talks that will occur in Paris later this year. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The climate talks are due to commence ... continue reading

Remarkable neon-glowing sea turtle discovered Watch

Image of Hawksbill sea turtles glow neon ( via David Gruber).

By Hannah Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While researching biofluorescence in small sharks and coral reefs, an unexpected glowing creature passed a team of scientists who identified the fluorescent creature as a sea turtle species. After testing others, they determined hawksbill sea turtles have attained the ... continue reading

Strange Stonehenge-styled rocks found on surface of Mars Watch

Image of


Alien experts and hunters usually look for -and find- the most bizarre images beamed back from the surface of Mars, which includes coffins, pyramids, crabs and even floating spoons. New images of Mars have excited alien enthusiasts with what appears to be an alien ... continue reading

Very rare simultaneous supermoon and eclipse expected to hit the sky this weekend Watch

Image of Lunar eclipse and blood moon from 2011 ( David Paleino).


A supermoon lunar eclipse is expected this weekend, exciting some people but bothering those who believe it signifies the nearing end of times as cited by some religions. Regardless of the contrasting responses, NASA and a professional photographer have some reminders ... continue reading

Massive 100,000-year-long meteor shower could be responsible for Earth's shape Watch

Image of Meteor shower lasing 100,000 years could have helped form the Earth's crust (CORBIS).


Earth has higher levels of magnesium and lower levels of silicon today than it does in deposits of its formative materials, leading French scientists to question "why?" MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - According to Daily Mail, a recent theory was made after ... continue reading

Love Birds: Research finds birds really do fall in love Watch

Image of


There are more characteristics birds have that are similar with humans. In a recent study created by a team of researchers in Germany, it was discovered that "lovebirds" isn't just a name of a specific kind of bird, but that birds really do fall in love. MUNTINLUPA, ... continue reading

All Green News


Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Joel 4:12-21
12 'Let the nations rouse themselves and march to the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 97:1-2, 5-6, 11-12
1 Yahweh is king! Let earth rejoice, the many isles ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 11:27-28
27 It happened that as he was speaking, a woman in ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 10th, 2015 Image

St. Francis Borgia
October 10: Francis was a young nobleman at the court of the King of Spain. ... Read More