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By Ordoh Staff. Published on Feb 24, 2014. 0
Sun will not only generate electricity for us, but in future it may also be used for the production of chemical fuels like hydrogen, which can power trains, trucks and cars.
However, as of now the problem with solar fuel production is the high cost of sun-capturing semiconductors and also the production of catalysts to generate fuel. Also, the final result is far from competing with gasoline.
Chemistry professor Kyoung-Shin Choi from the University of Wisconsin-Madison said to make the solar fuel commercially successful the cost of material production need to be reduced significantly for efficient solar-to-fuel conversion efficiency.
A study published recently in the Science journal says researchers Choi and Tae Woo Kim combined oxide-based materials that come at affordable price for the splitting of water into oxygen and hydrogen using solar energy. In the test the conversion was 1.7 percent, which is highest reported so far.
The researchers made solar cells from bismuth vanadate by making use of electrodeposition, but it needs a hand for speeding up the reaction and here catalysts is to come in.
The two used a pair of affordable and flawed catalysts – nickel oxide and iron oxide.
Choi said the combination of these two cheap catalyst with nanoporous high surface area semiconductor electrode gave making up an inexpensive all oxide-based photoelectrode system that has high efficiency.
He added other researchers too are studying different types of semiconductors to find out which materials can be more efficient.
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