A device that can harvest water from the air and provide hydrogen fuel – entirely powered by solar energy – has been a dream for researchers for decades but now a team in Lausanne claims to have cracked it.
EPFL chemical engineer Kevin Sivula and his researchers developed a simple system that combines semiconductor-based technology with novel electrodes that have two key characteristics: they are porous, to maximise contact with water in the air; and transparent, to maximise sunlight exposure of the semiconductor coating.
When the device is simply exposed to sunlight, it takes water from the air and produces hydrogen gas. The results are published today in Advanced Materials.
Sivula said, “To realise a sustainable society, we need ways to store renewable energy as chemicals that can be used as fuels and feedstocks in industry. Solar energy is the most abundant form of renewable energy, and we are striving to develop economically-competitive ways to produce solar fuels.”
... to continue reading you must be subscribed