Unprecedented efficiency in producing hydrogen from water

Dec 04, 2006

Scientists are reporting a major advance in technology for water photooxidation �using sunlight to produce clean-burning hydrogen fuel from ordinary water. Michael Gratzel and colleagues in Switzerland note that nature found this Holy Grail of modern energy independence 3 billion years ago, with the evolution of blue-green algae that use photosynthesis to split water into its components, hydrogen and oxygen.

Gratzel is namesake for the Gratzel Cell, a more-efficient solar cell that his group developed years ago. Solar cells produce electricity directly from sunlight. Their new research, scheduled for publication in the Dec. 13 issue of the weekly Journal of the American Chemical Society, reports development of a device that sets a new benchmark for efficiency in splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen using visible light, which is ordinary sunlight.

Previously, the best water photooxidation technology had an external quantum efficiency of about 37 percent. The new technology's efficiency is 42 percent, which the researchers term "unprecedented." The efficiency is due to an improved positive electrode and other innovations in the water-splitting device, researchers said.

Source: American Chemical Society

Explore further: Scientists advance cancer drug design with image of key protein

Related Stories

New method can make cheaper solar energy storage

Jul 01, 2015

Storing solar energy as hydrogen is a promising way for developing comprehensive renewable energy systems. To accomplish this, traditional solar panels can be used to generate an electrical current that splits ...

Recommended for you

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.