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Thread: Hydrogen fuel edges a step closer

  1. #1 Hydrogen fuel edges a step closer 
    Forum Radioactive Isotope cosmictraveler's Avatar
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    Making hydrogen gas in water just got a little easier. The discovery may lead to inexpensive, practical means of harvesting sunlight to create clean-burning hydrogen for powering cars or generating electricity.
    Scientists would like to mimic plant photosynthesis, which harvests sunlight and splits water molecules to create fuel. It sounds simple, but even in plants the task is a highly orchestrated set of reactions, with multiple players acting in multiple places. So researchers often tackle one half of photosynthesis at a time.

    The new study, published online November 8 in Science, focuses on the light-harvesting side of the equation. The researchers, from the University of Rochester in New York, created tiny particles of cadmium and selenium that spit out electrons when hit with light. The team also needed a catalyst to pass those electrons to hydrogen ions, which would combine into the useful gas H2.
    Into their pot the researchers put water, the nanoparticles (along with a little chemical cap to make them soluble in water), a nickel catalyst and a few other ingredients. When light hit the nanocrystals the system chugged to life, generating hydrogen gas. And it didn’t stop. Often the light-absorbing part of such a system starts to degrade; when it breaks down, everything grinds to a halt.


    Into their pot the researchers put water, the nanoparticles (along with a little chemical cap to make them soluble in water), a nickel catalyst and a few other ingredients. When light hit the nanocrystals the system chugged to life, generating hydrogen gas. And it didn’t stop. Often the light-absorbing part of such a system starts to degrade; when it breaks down, everything grinds to a halt.
    “After two weeks it was still going like a champ,” says team member Todd Krauss. “We stopped it when we ran out of patience.”
    In proper photosynthesis, the hydrogens that receive the electrons would come from splitting water, creating oxygen. The current setup doesn’t have a way to split water, so it uses another compound, ascorbic acid, to do water’s work.

    Hydrogen fuel edges a step closer | Molecules | Science News


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    Administrator KALSTER's Avatar
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    There is a full Sciencexpress paper available in pdf format that Peking University made public (the authors themselves maybe), but I am not sure if it is ok to link to it. Just Google it.

    Very interesting stuff!


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    Forum Radioactive Isotope cosmictraveler's Avatar
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    I tried but nothing available from the University that I could find in their search engine.
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  5. #4  
    Administrator KALSTER's Avatar
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    Just Google the paper title.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

    "Gullibility kills" - Carl Sagan
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    "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle
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  6. #5  
    Malignant Pimple shlunka's Avatar
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    This is very interesting! I'm curious how practical large scale devices using hydrogen could be?
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    Life-Size Nanoputian Flick Montana's Avatar
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    I've been cheerleading for HFC cars since I can remember. Thanks for posting this and the paper suggestion.
    "Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." -Calvin
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  8. #7  
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    Hydrogen from solar is coming along nicely despite being a poor relation when it comes to energy R&D funding - this hydrogen producing solar cell is supposed to cost about $US80 per square metre and have conversion efficiency of 3.6%, a combined number that puts it into the range of economically viable. Whether or not this one proves itself commercially it proves the viability of the concept.

    I would probably aim for stationary on-site domestic and industrial uses ahead of vehicles - you could store at relatively low compression and make a big difference to energy intensive applications like cooking, heating, refridgeration and cooling which are applications that are often heavy users after the sun goes down.
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