A new 2D material for hydrogen production has been developed by Scientists at Tomsk Polytechnic University and teams from the University of Chemistry and Technology, Prague and Jan Evangelista Purkyne University.
The developed material is a three-layer structure with a 1-micrometer thickness that can efficiently generate hydrogen molecules from fresh, salt and polluted water by exposure to sunlight.
A thin film of gold makes up the lower layer of the structure, the second layer is made of 10-nanometer platinum, and the third is a film of metal-organic frameworks of chromium compounds and organic molecules.
“Hydrogen is an alternative source of energy. Thus, the development of hydrogen technologies can become a solution to the global energy challenge,” said Olga Guselnikova, Researcher at the TPU Research School of Chemistry & Applied Biomedical Sciences.
“During the experiments, we watered material and sealed the container to take periodic gas samples to determine the amount of hydrogen. Infrared light caused the excitation of plasmon resonance on the sample surface. Hot electrons generated on the gold film were transferred to the platinum layer.”
“These electrons initiated the reduction of protons at the interface with the organic layer. If electrons reach the catalytic centres of metal-organic frameworks, the latter were also used to reduce protons and obtain hydrogen.”
“In this case, the metal-organic frame also acted as a filter. It filtered impurities and passed already purified water without impurities to the metal layer. It is very important, because, although there is a lot of water on Earth, its main volume is either salt or polluted water. Thereby, we should be ready to work with this kind of water.”
“The material already demonstrates a certain absorption in the visible light spectrum, but its efficiency is slightly lower than in the infrared spectrum. After improvement, it will be possible to say that the material works with 93% of the spectral volume of sunlight,” Olga adds.