Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Energy from Light and Water

09.02.2010
New photocatalytic method for the clean production of hydrogen from water

Hydrogen-powered fuel cells and solar energy are the best hope for a more environmentally friendly and resource-sparing energy supply in the future. A combination of the two is considered to be particularly “clean”: the production of hydrogen by splitting water with sunlight. Previous approaches to this have suffered from high costs and the limited lifetime of their catalytic systems.

In the journal Angewandte Chemie, a team led by Thomas Nann and Christopher J. Pickett at the University of East Anglia (Norwich, UK) has now introduced an efficient, robust photoelectrode made of common, inexpensive materials.

The new system consists of a gold electrode that is covered with layers of indium phosphide (InP) nanoparticles. The researchers then introduce an iron–sulfur complex, [Fe2S2(CO)6], into the layered arrangement. When submerged in water and irradiated with light under a relatively small electric current, this photoelectrocatalytic system produces hydrogen with an efficiency of 60%. “This relatively high efficiency is a breakthrough,” says Nann.

The researchers have proposed the following mechanism for the reaction: The incoming light particles are absorbed by the InP nanocrystals and excite electrons within the InP. In this excited state, the electrons can be transferred to the iron–sulfur complexes. In a catalytic reaction, the iron–sulfur complexes then pass their electrons on to hydrogen ions (H+) in the surrounding water, which are then released in the form of hydrogen (H2). The gold electrode supplies the necessary electrons to replenish the InP nanocrystals.

In contrast to current processes, the new system works without organic molecules. These must be converted into an excited state to react, which causes them to degrade over time. This problem limits the lifetime of systems with organic components. The new system is purely inorganic and lasts correspondingly longer. “Our newly developed photocatalytic electrode system is robust, efficient, inexpensive, and free of toxic heavy metals,” according to Nann. “It may be a highly promising alternative for industrial hydrogen production.”

Author: Thomas Nann, University of East Anglia, Norwich (UK), http://www.uea.ac.uk/che/people/faculty/nannt

Title: Water Splitting by Visible Light: A Nanophotocathode for Hydrogen Production

Angewandte Chemie International Edition, Permalink: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/anie.200906262

Thomas Nann | Angewandte Chemie
Further information:
http://www.uea.ac.uk/che/people/faculty/nannt
http://pressroom.angewandte.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds
26.05.2017 | Cornell University

nachricht How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system
26.05.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>