Possible Breakthrough in Solar Hydrogen Production

Solar production of hydrogen has been pretty inefficient. And really, it seems like hydrogen should be thought more of a battery type solution. I know of home solar installations where people are also doing hydrogen production so that they can switch to hydrogen in low sunlight situations. Anyway, Dr. Thomas Nann at the University of East Anglia have found a way to make the solar hydrogen production at 60% efficiencies.

I just have to post their abstract summary though b/se it makes me die laughing whenever I read these:

“A novel nanophotocathode for hydrogen production which is based on a multi-layer array of InP quantum dots activated with a synthetic iron-based electrocatalyst related to the subsite of an hydrogenase…”

Okay, enough geek humor. Basically, what they have done is create a gold cathode with indium phosphide nanoclusters on it. What they found is that the nanoclusters really catalyzes the electrolysis event. That means better hydrogen production.

Now, what’s funny is that gold doesn’t have to be used for the cathode. And that’s good, with Gold currently exceeding $1,000 and ounce. So, the possibility of building low cost, high efficiency hydrogen producers is much more likely. But, like most nano work, I’ll believe it when i see it in production – being mass produced.


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