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 JUNE 2017
National Leaders.
That national leaders may firmly commit themselves to ending the arms trade, which victimizes so many innocent people.


Comments


More Green

Killer supervolcano under Yellowstone stirs as 500 earthquakes hit park Watch

Image of The magma plume that feeds the supervolcano under Yellowstone is also responsible for the park's incredible beauty.

More than 500 earthquakes have hit Yellowstone as the supervolcano under the park recharges with magma. The recent spate of quakes, which ... continue reading


Will Oroville Spillway Gates Fail in Heavy Flows? Design Flaws & Fixes Risk Gate Binding? Watch

Image of The destroyed Oroville dam spillway.

Has DWR missed for over 40 years the accumulation of mud, debris, and silt that ended up jamming a Radial Gate?  For many years ... continue reading


Southwest broils under first heatwave of the year, Death Valley to see 124 or higher Watch

Image of The American Southwest is baking under the first heatwave of the year. The hottest surface temperature recorded on Earth was 134 degrees in Death Valley on July 10, 1913. The secret to the record heat is that Death Valley is below sea level and temperatures rise as air sinks lower.

A massive heatwave is baking the American southwest with temperatures across the region spiking above 110 degrees and even 120 degrees in ... continue reading


The Big One could be even BIGGER as scientists model worst case scenario Watch

Image of Most models of the quake assume a rupture from Palm Springs to the Tejon Pass, yet the rupture could extend much further.

Further research into the San Andreas fault has revealed the fault is capable of producing a more powerful quake than predicted. With the ... continue reading


On Aug. 21, millions of Americans will see something incredible. Will you be one of them? Watch

Image of On Aug. 21, millions of Americans will see their first total solar eclipse.

Millions of Americans plan to view the August 21, total solar eclipse which will sweep across the nation from Oregon to South Carolina. But ... 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.