A solar cell that produces fuel rather than electricity. Researchers at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) and FOM Foundation today present a very promising prototype of this in the journal Nature Communications.
The material gallium phosphide enables their solar cell to produce the clean fuel hydrogen gas from liquid water. Processing the gallium phosphide in the form of very small nanowires is novel and helps to boost the yield by a factor of ten. And does so using ten thousand times less precious material.
The electricity produced by a solar cell can be used to set off chemical reactions. If this generates a fuel, then one speaks of solar fuels – a hugely promising replacement for polluting fuels. One of the possibilities is to split liquid water using the electricity that is generated (electrolysis). Among oxygen, this produces hydrogen gas that can be used as a clean fuel in the chemical industry or combusted in fuel cells – in cars for example – to drive engines.
Solar fuel cell
To connect an existing silicon solar cell to a battery that splits the water may well be an efficient solution now but it is a very expensive one. Many researchers are therefore targeting their search at a semiconductor material that is able to both convert sunlight into an electrical charge and split the water, all in one; a kind of ‘solar fuel cell’. Researchers at TU/e and FOM see their dream candidate in gallium phosphide (GaP), a compound of gallium and phosphide that also serves as the basis for specific colored leds.
A tenfold boost
GaP has good electrical properties but the drawback that it cannot easily absorb light when it is a large flat surface as used in GaP solar cells. The researchers have overcome this problem by making a grid of very small GaP nanowires, measuring five hundred nanometers (a millionth of a millimeter) long and ninety nanometers thick. This immediately boosted the yield of hydrogen by a factor of ten to 2.9 percent. A record for GaP cells, even though this is still some way off the fifteen percent achieved by silicon cells coupled to a battery.
Ten thousand times less material
According to research leader and TU/e professor Erik Bakkers, it’s not simply about the yield – where there is still a lot of scope for improvement he points out: “For the nanowires we needed ten thousand less precious GaP material than in cells with a flat surface. That makes these kinds of cells potentially a great deal cheaper,” Bakkers says.
“In addition, GaP is also able to extract oxygen from the water – so you then actually have a fuel cell in which you can temporarily store your solar energy. In short, for a solar fuels future we cannot ignore gallium phosphide any longer.”
The Latest on: Slar fuel cell
[google_news title=”” keyword=”solar fuel cell” num_posts=”10″ blurb_length=”0″ show_thumb=”left”]
via Google News
The Latest on: Solar fuel cell
- The April total solar eclipse could snarl traffic for hours across thousands of mileson March 2, 2024 at 9:00 am
Fuel up before the eclipse and have some essentials on hand while traveling When and where can you view the 2024 total solar eclipse? A total solar eclipse happens when the moon blocks the sun's light ...
- Researchers improve the stability of perovskite solar cellson February 29, 2024 at 1:42 pm
Perovskite solar cells are thought of as the strongest contender to replace conventional silicon solar cells in next-generation photovoltaics. They are made of an A+ cation, a B2+ divalent cation, and ...
- Solar Energy Newson February 28, 2024 at 3:59 pm
Bulky Additives Could Make Cheaper Solar Cells Last Longer Jan. 11 ... Solar-Powered Device Produces Clean Water and Clean Fuel at the Same Time Nov. 13, 2023 — A floating, solar-powered ...
- Flexible Solar Cell Global Market Opportunities - Application Diversity and Potential for Lower Levelized Cost of Energy Fuel Intereston February 23, 2024 at 1:33 am
Dublin, Feb. 23, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The "Flexible Solar Cell Growth Opportunities" report has been added to ResearchAndMarkets.com's offering. Net zero goals requires decarbonization in every ...
- Solar cell prices hold steady as market weighs feasibility of increasing priceson February 22, 2024 at 4:01 pm
Solar cell FOB China prices have stayed unchanged ... OPIS, a Dow Jones company, provides energy prices, news, data, and analysis on gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, LPG/NGL, coal, metals, and chemicals, ...
- Delaware ranks as one of the best states for solar installationon February 20, 2024 at 12:47 pm
Delaware has been ranked as one of the top three states in the country for harnessing solar power. ConsumerAffairs, which conducts research-based consumer guides, compiled a list of the best states to ...
- California Solar Panel Incentives: Tax Credits, Rebates, Financing and Moreon February 7, 2024 at 5:00 am
Solar incentives are one reason Californians can save money with solar panels, despite weaker net metering rules enacted nearly a year ago.
- World's only commercial hydrogen fuel cell showcases 440kW power ratingon January 9, 2024 at 5:05 pm
Visitors can also catch a glimpse of HyAxiom's Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) Electrolyzer, which can be scaled from 1 MW to 100 MW with ease at CES 2024 in Las Vegas ...
- Solar Energyon July 8, 2023 at 6:15 am
Though costly to implement, solar energy offers a clean, renewable source of power. 3 min read Solar energy is the technology used to harness the sun's energy and make it useable. As of 2011, the ...
- It's Time For Elon Musk To Admit The Significance Of Hydrogen Fuel Cellson November 2, 2020 at 4:01 am
If you took a solar panel and used the energy from that ... high pressure or liquefy it and then put it in a car and run a fuel cell, it is about half the efficiency. It's terrible." ...
via Bing News