Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Catalyst For Water Oxidation Adopted From Plants: A Means For Energy-efficient Production Of Hydrogen?

Date:
August 27, 2008
Source:
Wiley-Blackwell
Summary:
A team of Australian and American researchers has developed a catalyst that effectively catalyzes the photooxidation of water. The core of the catalyst is a manganese-containing complex modeled after those found in photosynthetic organisms.

Researchers have developed a catalyst that effectively catalyzes one of the necessary half reactions, the photooxidation of water.
Credit: Image courtesy of Wiley-Blackwell

Hydrogen will be one of the most important fuels of the future. It would be ideal to obtain hydrogen by splitting water instead of from petroleum. However, the electrolysis of water is a very energy intensive process, making it both expensive and unsustainable if the electricity necessary to generate it comes from the burning of fossil fuels. Photolysis, the splitting of water by light, is a highly promising alternative.

A team of Australian and American researchers has now developed a catalyst that effectively catalyzes one of the necessary half reactions, the photooxidation of water. As it reports in the journal Angewandte Chemie, the core of the catalyst is a manganese-containing complex modeled after those found in photosynthetic organisms.

Electrolysis is the reverse of the process that occurs in a battery: that is electrical energy is converted to chemical energy. The electrolysis of water involves two half reactions: at the cathode, protons (positively charged hydrogen ions) are reduced to hydrogen, whereas at the anode the oxidation of water produces oxygen. The goal of the researchers is to use sunlight to get this energy-intensive process going. To make this work, the light-harvesting power of modern solar cells must be combined with effective photocatalysts for the oxidation of water and reduction of hydrogen ions into hydrogen gas.

The biggest hurdle to overcome in the photocatalytic splitting of water to date has been the lack of a robust catalyst that oxidizes water. In fact, the best known catalyst, which very effectively oxidizes water when irradiated with visible light, is a manganese-containing enzyme in the photosynthetic apparatus of living organisms.

Robin Brimblecombe and Leone Spiccia at Monash University (Australia), Gerhard F. Swiegers at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO, Australia), and G. Charles Dismukes at Princeton University (USA) have used this structure as a model for their photocatalyst.

The catalyst in question is a manganese oxo complex with a cubic core made of four manganese and four oxygen atoms capped by ancillary phosphinate molecules. The catalytically active species is formed when energy from light causes the release of one the capping molecules from the cube.

However, the manganese complex is not soluble in water. The researchers have overcome this problem by coating one electrode with a wafer-thin Nafion membrane. Housed within the aqueous channels of this membrane, the catalytic species is stabilized and has good access to the water molecules. Irradiation with visible light under an applied 1.2 volts leads to the effective electro-oxidation of water.

This anodic half-cell could be easily paired with a catalytic hydrogen-producing cathode cell. This would result in a photoelectrochemical cell that produces pure hydrogen and oxygen from water and sunlight.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wiley-Blackwell. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Robin Brimblecombe, Gerhard F. Swiegers, G. Charles Dismukes, Leone Spiccia. Sustained Water Oxidation Photocatalysis by a Bioinspired Manganese Cluster. Angewandte Chemie, Published Online: Aug 1 2008 DOI: 10.1002/anie.200801132

Cite This Page:

Wiley-Blackwell. "Catalyst For Water Oxidation Adopted From Plants: A Means For Energy-efficient Production Of Hydrogen?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 August 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080826100829.htm>.
Wiley-Blackwell. (2008, August 27). Catalyst For Water Oxidation Adopted From Plants: A Means For Energy-efficient Production Of Hydrogen?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080826100829.htm
Wiley-Blackwell. "Catalyst For Water Oxidation Adopted From Plants: A Means For Energy-efficient Production Of Hydrogen?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080826100829.htm (accessed August 30, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Australian Airlines Relax Phone Ban Too

Australian Airlines Relax Phone Ban Too

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 26, 2014) Qantas and Virgin say passengers can use their smartphones and tablets throughout flights after a regulator relaxed a ban on electronic devices during take-off and landing. As Hayley Platt reports the move comes as the two domestic rivals are expected to post annual net losses later this week. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hurricane Marie Brings Big Waves to California Coast

Hurricane Marie Brings Big Waves to California Coast

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 26, 2014) Huge waves generated by Hurricane Marie hit the Southern California coast. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chinese Researchers Might Be Creating Supersonic Submarine

Chinese Researchers Might Be Creating Supersonic Submarine

Newsy (Aug. 26, 2014) Chinese researchers have expanded on Cold War-era tech and are closer to building a submarine that could reach the speed of sound. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakingviews: India Coal Strained by Supreme Court Ruling

Breakingviews: India Coal Strained by Supreme Court Ruling

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 26, 2014) An acute coal shortage is likely to be aggravated as India's supreme court declared government coal allocations illegal, says Breakingviews' Peter Thal Larsen. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins