UH researchers have made catalytic discoveries in energy harvesting and nanotechnology, which is paving the way for renewable energy via solar water-splitting.
Bao said, our group is the first group in the world to use this material (for water-splitting). The next step, simply, is we need to develop a more efficient technique to make the nanoparticle. Once we understand that, then we can design the structure of the nanoparticle so that they can last a long time.
Cobalt(II) oxide is capable of splitting water into its two chemical components, oxygen and hydrogen, when exposed to natural light. Hydrogen is then used to store energy to create fuel cells. The catalyst in this process is used without coatings or additives, which cuts down on costs.
Zhao said, if we can use water to give us energy like hydrogen, this could be very promising and solve the problem of shortage of energy, Zhao said.
Solar water-splitting does not produce extra atoms, and the hydrogen and oxygen byproducts can be recycled as water. The solar-to-hydrogen efficiency of 5 percent using Cobalt(II) oxide is a breakthrough. However, the efficiency needs to be 10 percent to be commercially viable.
Li said, I think the new energy is a very attractive point. New, clean energy is a must for the world, because coal, the petrol petroleum they maybe can last 100 years, but after that people have to find some new energy. Also, maybe they can help to solve some environmental problems, prevent air pollution.
Bao hopes to improve the solar water-splitting process by prolonging the lifespan of the Cobalt(II) oxide and its fabrication as a nanoparticle in the hopes of raising its efficiency to commercially viable levels.
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