Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Important breakthrough for renewable energy sources

12.04.2012
Researchers from the Department of Chemistry at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm, Sweden, have managed to construct a molecular catalyzer that can oxidize water to oxygen very rapidly.
In fact, these KTH scientists are the first to reach speeds similar to those is nature’s own photosynthesis, which is also a world record. The research findings play a critical role for the future use of solar energy and other renewable energy sources, which is of great interest as gasoline prices are constantly setting new records.

Researchers all over the world, including the US, Japan, and the EU, have been focusing for more than 30 years on refining an artificial form of photosynthesis. The results have varied, but above all researchers have not succeeded in creating a sufficiently rapid solar-driven catalyzer for oxidizing water.

– Speed has been the main problem, the bottleneck, when it comes to creating perfect artificial photosynthesis, says Licheng Sun, professor of organic chemistry at KTH.

But now, together with research colleagues, he has imitated natural photosynthesis and thereby succeeded in creating a molecular catalyzer that is record fast. The speed with which natural photosynthesis does its job is given as 100 to 400 turnovers per seconds. The KTH have reached over 300 turnovers per seconds with their artificial photosynthesis.

– This is clearly a world record, and a breakthrough regarding a molecular catalyzer in artificial photosynthesis, says Licheng Sun.

The fact that the KTH researchers are now close to nature’s own photosynthesis regarding speed opens up many new possibilities, especially for renewable energy sources.

– This speed makes it possible in the future to create large-scale facilities for producing hydrogen in the Sahara, where there’s an abundance of sunshine. Or to attain much more efficient solar energy conversion to electricity, combining this with traditional solar cells, than is possible today, says Licheng Sun.

He points to the problem of skyrocketing gasoline prices, and these advances with the rapid molecular catalyzers can in turn lay the groundwork for many important changes. On the one hand, they make it possible to use sunlight to convert carbon dioxide into various fuels, such as methanol. On the other hand, the technology can be created to convert solar energy directly into hydrogen. Licheng Sun adds that he and his research colleagues are working hard and pursing intensive research to make this technology inexpensive.

– I’m convinced that it will be possible in ten years to produce technology based on this type of research that is sufficiently cheap to compete with carbon-based fuels. This explains why Barack Obama is investing billions of dollars in this type of research, says Licheng Sun.

He has conducted research in this field for nearly twenty years, more than half of that time at KTH, and adds that he and many other researchers see efficient catalyzers for oxidation of water as key to solving the solar energy problem.

– When it comes to renewable energy sources, using the sun is one of the best ways to go, says Licheng Sun.

The research findings are of such importance that they have recently attracted the attention of the scientific journal Nature Chemistry.

The research pursued by Licheng Sun and his colleagues is funded by the Wallenberg Foundation and the Swedish Energy Agency. They collaborate with researchers at Uppsala University and Stockholm University, and, together with Professor Lars Kloo at KTH, they run a joint research center involving KTH and Dalian University of Technology (DUT) in China.

For more information, please contact Licheng Sun via lichengs@kth.se or +46 (0)8 - 790 81 27. Please note that Professor Licheng Sun will be attending various conferences around the world for the next few weeks, which means it is easiest to reach him by e-mail.

Peter Larsson | idw
Further information:
http://www.vr.se

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht Microhotplates for a smart gas sensor
22.02.2017 | Toyohashi University of Technology

nachricht Positrons as a new tool for lithium ion battery research: Holes in the electrode
22.02.2017 | Technische Universität München

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Prediction: More gas-giants will be found orbiting Sun-like stars

22.02.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers identify cause of hereditary skeletal muscle disorder

22.02.2017 | Health and Medicine

Positrons as a new tool for lithium ion battery research: Holes in the electrode

22.02.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>