• 12Dec

    storing-solar-energyCan you imagine how you can store the energy coming from the sun so that you can use it even during night time or when the sun is not shining? A group of scientists is trying to figure out a way to make clean energy out of the solar energy. The only way possible is to store it as hydrogen.

    To do what they want to achieve, the experts need to use the basic ingredients, water and rust. The scientists purposely made use of inexpensive materials and look into scalable production potentials of solar hydrogen.

    The basic idea of converting the sun’s energy into hydrogen is not actually a new idea. In fact, scientists have been trying to figure it out for more than four decades. In the 1990s, Michael Gratzel came up with the PEC solar cell that helps produce hydrogen straight from water.

    The main problem of the latest efforts is the cost of the PEC or photoelectrochemical technology. In theory, it is very interesting but it is not really viable if you can produce a small surface that would cost $10,000. In order to avoid this scenario, the experts opted to use the cheapest materials possible. They were actually able to bring the numbers down and make the technology more viable.

    The semiconductor they used is iron oxide or what we know as rust. The rust is not really what you just see in old nails but an enhanced version that involves cobalt oxide, aluminum, and silicon oxide. The second part of the equation consists of titanium dioxide ad dye. The second layer allows the electrons from the rust to have enough energy in order to get the Hydrogen portion of the water.

    So far the study has been a success with the technology attaining an efficiency of 16%.

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