Solar Nanomaterial Can Get Hydrogen From Seawater

by under News on 10 Oct 2017 06:45:20 PM10 Oct 2017

It makes sense to us, sort of. But hurrah!

2016 Toyota Mirai Fuel Cell Vehicle - Australia

A decade of research into the extraction of hydrogen has finally yielded some truly astonishing results. A report this week has brought to light the creation of a nanomaterial that is capable of fuelling the splitting of hydrogen from seawater, opening up the very real likelihood of hydrogen being the fuel of the future.

While promising, the future of hydrogen has been hampered mostly by the complexity of harvesting hydrogen itself, which requires an immense amount of energy, offsetting the energy you’d be capable of making from the hydrogen itself. However, the research conducted at the University of Central Florida by assistant professor Yang Yang has resulted in the production of a photocatylist that “spurs a chemical reaction using energy from light.”

Solar Nanomaterial Can Get Hydrogen From Seawater
“We’ve open a new window into splitting real water, not just purified water in a lab. This material works really well in seawater.” — Dr. Y. Yang, University of Central Florida

The material that Dr. Yang has come up with essentially captures energy from sunlight, which then spurs a chemical process that splits hydrogen from seawater, negating the need for huge energy reserves for that conversion. As a result of this, hydrogen can be harvested on an enormous scale, and can then be transported where needed without having to rely on batteries that degrade with time.

Solar Nanomaterial Can Get Hydrogen From Seawater
“We can absorb so much more solar energy from the light than conventional materials. If commercialised, it would be a huge boost for Florida’s economy. We have a lot of seawater around Florida, and lots of sunshine.” — Dr. Y. Yang, University of Central Florida

The nanomaterial that Dr. Yang created is not only easy to fabricate, but the doctor claims that it is inexpensive as well, with his research team now working on how to scale up manufacturing of the material and to enhance the efficiency and performance of the material to potentially provide enough power to even be able to harvest hydrogen cells from wastewater.

2016 Toyota Mirai Fuel Cell Vehicle - Australia

Hydrogen is considered by some quarters to be the true future of mobility, with parties like Toyota pioneering the technology for the mass market and Lexus saying that electric vehicles are nothing more than ‘bridging solutions’ between the internal-combustion fossil-fuel engine and hydrogen. While the Japanese conglomerate and its peers have been considered somewhat left-field in their approach, perhaps the breakthroughs that Dr. Yang is putting forward will change the course of future mobility altogether.

Stay tuned to CarShowroom as we bring you more updates as they come.

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