Ar­ti­fi­cial leaf for hy­dro­gen pro­duc­tion

Chemical Industry Digest - - Renewables -

Ateam of in­ter­na­tional re­searchers, af­fil­i­ated with Ul­san Na­tional In­sti­tute of Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy (UNIST), South Korea, has re­cently en­gi­neered a new ar­ti­fi­cial leaf that can con­vert sun­light into fuel.

The re­search achieved by Pro­fes­sor Jae Sung Lee and Pro­fes­sor Ji-Wook Jang of En­ergy and Chem­i­cal En­gi­neer­ing at UNIST in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Pro­fes­sor Roel van de Krol at the Helmholtz-Zen­trum Ber­lin, Ger­many was pub­lished in the renowned sci­en­tific jour­nal, Na­ture Com­mu­ni­ca­tions.

In the study, the re­search pre­sented het­ero-type dual photo elec­trodes, in which two pho­toan­odes of dif­fer­ent band gaps are con­nected in par­al­lel for ex­tended light har­vest­ing. Their new ar­ti­fi­cial leaf mim­ics the nat­u­ral process of un­der­wa­ter pho­to­syn­the­sis of aquatic plants to split water into hy­dro­gen and oxy­gen, which can be har­vested for fuel.

This study is ex­pected to con­trib­ute greatly to the re­duc­tion and treat­ment of car­bon diox­ide emis­sions. Us­ing hy­dro­gen pro­duced by ar­ti­fi­cial leaf as fuel, does not gen­er­ate car­bon diox­ide emis­sions. In ad­di­tion, it can be used as a cheap and sta­ble hy­dro­gen fuel for hy­dro­gen fuel cell ve­hi­cles.

“We aim to achieve 10% en­hanced light har­vest­ing ef­fi­ciency within three years,” said Pro­fes­sor Lee. “This tech­nol­ogy will greatly con­trib­ute to the es­tab­lish­ment of the re­new­able-en­ergy-type hy­dro­gen re fu­elling sta­tion by sup­ply­ing cheap fuel for hy­dro­gen fuel cell ve­hi­cles.

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