Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

A Light Touch

03.12.2009
Iron complexes as efficient catalysts for the light-driven extraction of hydrogen from water

Hydrogen is a promising alternative energy carrier that can be efficiently converted into electrical energy in fuel cells.

One hurdle to the introduction of sustainable hydrogen technology is the fact that the large-scale industrial production of hydrogen through reforming processes is still largely based on fossil fuels, and thus is not carbon neutral. “One of the most important goals for chemists is to use solar energy for the generation of energy carriers like hydrogen,” says Matthias Beller of the Leibniz Institute for Catalysis in Rostock (Germany).

“The biggest attraction is the use of water as a source of hydrogen.” Beller’s Rostock team, in collaboration with scientists in Rennes (France), has now developed a new catalytic system that can make this dream come true. As the researchers report in the journal Angewandte Chemie, their efficient system is based on simple, inexpensive iron carbonyl complexes.

By means of photosynthesis, plants are particularly good at converting light into chemical energy. Their success relies on complicated reaction cascades that are activated by light energy. Electrons are passed on through multiple reaction steps that involve a number of “helper agents”. Based on this principle, light-driven reaction cascades for the reduction of water to hydrogen are currently being developed around the world.

The significant components for Beller’s novel cascade are a photosensitizer, a source of electrons (electron donor), and the actual water-reduction catalyst. The photosensitizer absorbs the incoming light, capturing its energy. Subsequently, the electron donor transfers an electron to the excited photosensitizer. Now negatively charged, the photosensitizer transfers its extra electron to the water reduction catalyst. The catalyst uses the electron to reduce protons (H+ ions) from the water to hydrogen (H2).

In order for the whole process to proceed, the individual components must be well tuned to each other. The team selected a known photosensitizer that contains the metal iridium; their electron donor is triethylamine. Whereas most researchers have concentrated on expensive precious metals as water reduction catalysts, the Rostock research team settled on an affordable alternative: simple, readily available iron carbonyls (coordination complexes made of iron atoms and CO molecules).

“Our new catalytic system demonstrates that simple and affordable iron complexes can be used for the production of hydrogen from water,” says Beller. “In order to carry out this reaction on a larger scale in the future, we are currently working on improvements to the photosensitizer and the use of water as the electron donor.”

Author: Matthias Beller, Universität Rostock (Germany), http://www.catalysis.de/Beller-Matthias.239.0.html

Title: Light-Driven Hydrogen Generation: Efficient Iron-Based Water Reduction Catalysts

Angewandte Chemie International Edition, doi: 10.1002/anie.200905115

Matthias Beller | Angewandte Chemie
Further information:
http://www.catalysis.de/Beller-Matthias.239.0.html
http://pressroom.angewandte.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Are there sustainable solutions in dealing with dwindling phosphorus resources?
16.10.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Nutzierbiologie (FBN)

nachricht Strange undertakings: ant queens bury dead to prevent disease
13.10.2017 | Institute of Science and Technology Austria

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

Im Focus: New nanomaterial can extract hydrogen fuel from seawater

Hybrid material converts more sunlight and can weather seawater's harsh conditions

It's possible to produce hydrogen to power fuel cells by extracting the gas from seawater, but the electricity required to do it makes the process costly. UCF...

Im Focus: Small collisions make big impact on Mercury's thin atmosphere

Mercury, our smallest planetary neighbor, has very little to call an atmosphere, but it does have a strange weather pattern: morning micro-meteor showers.

Recent modeling along with previously published results from NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft -- short for Mercury Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry and...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

Conference Week RRR2017 on Renewable Resources from Wet and Rewetted Peatlands

28.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A single photon reveals quantum entanglement of 16 million atoms

16.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

The melting ice makes the sea around Greenland less saline

16.10.2017 | Earth Sciences

On the generation of solar spicules and Alfvenic waves

16.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>