Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Nanotechnology Boosts Efficiency In Converting Solar Energy Into Hydrogen In Fuel Cells

Date:
March 22, 2009
Source:
University of Arkansas at Little Rock
Summary:
Researchers find great promise in a process that could use solar energy to use hydrogen, the third most abundant element on earth's surface, as the ultimate alternative to fossil fuels. This process increase dramatically the efficiency of titania photoanodes used to convert solar energy into hydrogen in fuel cells.

Researchers find great promise in a process that could use solar energy to use hydrogen, the third most abundant element on earth's surface, as the ultimate alternative to fossil fuels. This process increase dramatically the efficiency of titania photoanodes used to convert solar energy into hydrogen in fuel cells.

Researchers at UALR -- the University of Arkansas at Little Rock -- said they have developed a process involving nanostructure that shows great promise in boosting the efficiency of titania photoanodes used to convert solar energy into hydrogen in fuel cells.

Hydrogen, the third most abundant element on earth’s surface, has long been recognized as the ultimate alternative to fossil fuels as an energy carrier. Automobiles using hydrogen directly or in fuel cells have already been developed, but the biggest challenge has been how to produce hydrogen using renewable sources of energy.

Scientists in Japan discovered in 1970 that semiconductor oxide photoanodes can harness the photons from solar radiation and used them to split a water molecule into hydrogen and oxygen, but process was too inefficient to be viable.

The UALR team, working with researchers at the University of Nevada, Reno, and supported by the U.S. Department of Energy and the Arkansas Science and Technology Authority (ASTA), has reported an 80 percent increase in efficiency with a new process.

The new process has been outlined in a recent study published in the journal Nanotechnology.

Electrochemical methods were utilized to synthesize titania photoanodes with nanotubular structures. The photoanode surfaces were then subjected to low-pressure nitrogen plasma to modify their surface properties. The plasma treatment increased the light absorption by the photoanode surface. It also removed surface impurities that are detrimental for photoelectrochemical hydrogen production.

“The plasma treatment significantly enhanced the photo electrochemical activity of the samples,” said Dr. Rajesh Sharma, assistant research professor in applied science in UALR’s Donaghey College of Engineering and Information Technology (EIT). “The photocurrent density of plasma treated material was approximately 80 percent higher than that of the control electrodes.”

Sharma’s highly interdisciplinary research interests encompass materials science, electrostatics, and particulate technology. He developed an atmospheric pressure plasma reactor for surface modification of materials in a variety of applications.

In addition to his work on nanostructured materials for photoelectrochemical processes, he is also working on development of an electrodynamic screen for dust mitigation application for future Mars and Lunar missions.

In addition to Sharma, the project team includes Drs. Alexandru Biris, assistant professor in applied science and chief science officer of Nanotechnology Center at UALR; UALR Professor-emeritus Malay Mazumder, and UALR undergraduate student Jacob Bock of Cabot.

Team members in Nevada include Dr. Mano Misra in the Department of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering at UNR, and graduate students Prajna P. Das and Vishal Mahajan at the UNR.

Dr. Steve Trigwell, manager of the Applied Science and Technology Laboratories at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, also participated in the research.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Arkansas at Little Rock. "Nanotechnology Boosts Efficiency In Converting Solar Energy Into Hydrogen In Fuel Cells." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 March 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090320173135.htm>.
University of Arkansas at Little Rock. (2009, March 22). Nanotechnology Boosts Efficiency In Converting Solar Energy Into Hydrogen In Fuel Cells. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090320173135.htm
University of Arkansas at Little Rock. "Nanotechnology Boosts Efficiency In Converting Solar Energy Into Hydrogen In Fuel Cells." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090320173135.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

San Diego Zoo's White Rhinos Provide Hope for the Critically Endangered Species

San Diego Zoo's White Rhinos Provide Hope for the Critically Endangered Species

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) — The pair of rare white northern rhinos bring hope for their species as only six remain in the world. Elly Park reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trick-or-Treating Banned Because of Polar Bears

Trick-or-Treating Banned Because of Polar Bears

Buzz60 (Oct. 21, 2014) — Mother Nature is pulling a trick on the kids of Arviat, Canada. As Mara Montalbano (@maramontalbano) tells us, the effects of global warming caused the town to ban trick-or-treating this Halloween. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) — He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Detroit's Money Woes Led To U.N.-Condemned Water Cutoffs

How Detroit's Money Woes Led To U.N.-Condemned Water Cutoffs

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) — The United Nations says water is a human right, but should it be free? Detroit has cut off water to residents who can't pay, and the U.N. isn't happy. Video provided by Newsy
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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