Researchers Find New Material That May Performs Photocatalysis By Using Sunlight

Posted: Jun 20 2018, 10:52pm CDT | by , in Latest Science News


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Researchers Find New Material That May Performs Photocatalysis By Using Sunlight
Image Credit: George Volonakis

New-Found Material Can Use Solar Energy to Split Water Into Hydrogen and Oxygen.

The main power source on Earth is Sun but so far, we have not been able to harness this clean power source to fulfill all our energy needs. The main obstacle behind our reliance on other polluting fuel sources is the unavailability of sunlight at all hours.

Even though the sunlight we receive is more than enough to meet all our energy needs, the main problem lies behind our incapacity to store it on a large scale and use it in the absence of sunlight.

This can be done in two different ways, firstly, we store the solar energy using batteries but given the number of our heavy energy needs; no quantity of current generation batteries can store enough energy to provide a backup for all of our energy requirements.

The other way is using solar energy for photocatalysis, during this process water is split into oxygen and hydrogen, fuel cells can later recombine both these elements and create clean energy at very low cost.

Such kind of energy will not only be cheap but also generate no pollution; it will also stop our reliance on high polluting fossil fuels that already pose a great threat to our environment.

According to a new research paper that was published in Applied Physics Letters, a research team has found a new kind of material that may perform photocatalysis by using solar power in a very efficient manner.

According to the experiments carried out by the team, halide double perovskites, a new kind of materials, seem to have the right kind of properties for carrying out photocatalysis.

"If we can come up with a material that can be useful as a water-splitting photocatalyst, then it would be an enormous breakthrough," said Feliciano Giustino, a co-author on the paper.

The current evidence is still theoretical, but the scientists will perform more experiments to confirm their performance in real-world applications.

Very few other materials have all these features at once, Giustino said. "We can't say this will work for sure, but these compounds seem to have all the right properties."

In the past, scientists have been trying to experiment with other materials that can perform photocatalysis but not much success was obtained; another material titanium dioxide (TiO2) was found to be good at this process but its inability to harness solar energy on a good scale made it unsuitable for commercial use.

Perovskite has been a subject of interest for a long time but all earlier found forms of this element also contained lead, being an environmentally hazardous material, this material could not be used for solar farming.

"These new double perovskites are not only promising as a complementary material for tandem solar cells, but they can also be promising in areas like photocatalysis," Volonakis said.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/2" rel="author">Luigi Lugmayr</a>
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