Full-Spectrum Solar-Generated Hydrogen

Dean Sigler Hydrogen Fuel, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Osaka University researchers have created a new material based on gold and black phosphorus to produce clean hydrogen fuel using the full spectrum of sunlight.  Most solar apparatus used in “water splitting” rely on materials such as titanium dioxide.  These are limited to obtaining energy from the ultraviolet (UV) part of the solar spectrum, however.  The rest of the spectrum is wasted. Osaka’s team “developed a material to harvest a broader spectrum of sunlight,” using a three-part composite.  The different parts maximize absorption of light and enhance the efficiency of the unit for water splitting.  The core, a “traditional” semiconductor of lanthanum titanium oxide (LTO) is coated with tiny nanoparticle specks of gold.  The gold-covered LTO is then mixed with …

Making Hydrogen Abundant and Inexpensive

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

The quandary in producing and using hydrogen is that it’s the most common element in the universe and the oldest, having been formed within a micro-second of the Big Bang.  Despite that, it’s always associated with other materials, and to use pure hydrogen usually requires extracting from the material in which it’s found.  Water is the most common source for hydrogen, but as noted before, getting hydrogen out of water is harder than it looks. As shown in earlier blog, various techniques have been tried to make this extraction, some seemingly close to providing usable quantities at reasonable prices.  Dr. Daniel Nocera of MIT and later Harvard used a two-catalyst system to pull oxygen and hydrogen from water. State University …

Taking That Fork in the Solar Road

Dean Sigler Diesel Powerplants, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Kyoung-Shin Choi, a chemistry professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and postdoctoral researcher Tae Woo Kim combined forces to come up with a two-pronged approach for producing stored energy from mere sunlight. Many researchers take the familiar path of using expensive materials to extract the greatest percentage of energy from solar cells, but others use low-cost, less efficient organic materials spread across a greater area to get the same results.  Choi and Kim, though, decided that selecting two different low-cost materials could give greater results – something a more single-path approach would miss. As their U of W report states, “Generating electricity is not the only way to turn sunlight into energy we can use on demand. The sun can also …

Rust and Sunshine Do Mix

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Chemists at Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, “Have achieved a series of breakthroughs in their efforts to develop an economical means of harnessing artificial photosynthesis by narrowing the voltage gap between the two crucial processes of oxidation and reduction, according to their paper, “Hematite-Based Water Splitting with Low Turn-on Voltage,” published this week in the journal Angewandte Chemie.” With your editor wishing he’d paid more attention in high-school chemistry, a quick search came up with simple definitions of oxidation and reduction. Oxidation is gain of oxygen. Reduction is loss of oxygen. When reduction and oxidation take place simultaneously, this is known as a redox reaction. These types of reactions take place in leaves producing plant energy from sunlight, and researchers are closing in …

Solar Cells and Artificial Photosynthesis Make Hydrogen Directly

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Science 2.0.com reports on an exciting potential breakthrough in solar energy and its direct transformation into hydrogen fuel.  Usually, solar cells generate current from photons, making electricity which can run things or be stored in batteries. This new and different approach, using an innovative and inexpensive solar cell and a metal oxide photo anode, can store nearly five percent of solar energy chemically as hydrogen. The metal oxide bismuth vanadate (BiVO4) photo anode includes a small dose of tungsten atoms, was then sprayed onto conducting glass and “coated with an inexpensive cobalt phosphate catalyst,” which helped speed up oxygen formation during water splitting. Science 2.0 reports Professor Dr. Roel van de Krol’s remarks.  He’s head of the Helmholtz Zentrum Berlin …

Salt Plus Titanium Dioxide Plus Light Equals Hydrogen

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Microorganisms found in salt flats could offer a new path to green hydrogen fuel, according to researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory. Argonne researchers say that some desert salt flats shelter “a protein found in the membranes of ancient microorganisms,” and could hold promise for generating hydrogen fuel in an “environmentally friendly” way. Salts come in a variety of colors, and each edible variety can lend a unique taste to recipes, but the purple salt used in the Argonne experiments can help make hydrogen. Elena Rozhkova is a scientist at Argonne’s Center for Nanoscale Materials in the Nanoscience and Technology Division. She develops her own research programs and works with users in the Center for Nanoscale …

Soy Beans – Not Just for Tofu Anymore

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Shilpa and twin sister Shweta Iyer have been working on splitting water to extract hydrogen for many years.  In November, 2012 the Port Jefferson Station high school students won regional finalist honors in the Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology, and netted $1,000 each.  They were awarded the Grand Prize in the Long Island Science and Engineering Fair in March, and were sent to Phoenix, Arizona in May to compete in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, where they won fourth place and $500 each.  Their winnings go into college funds which they will invest in the fall. What has won these young women international recognition?  Perhaps it’s their work in creating a catalyst for the production of …