Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

An abundant and inexpensive water-splitting photocatalyst with low toxicity

Date:
April 16, 2014
Source:
National Institute for Materials Science
Summary:
Researchers in Japan have discovered a new photocatalyst, Sn3O4, which facilitates the production of hydrogen fuel from water, using sunlight as an energy source.

Figure 1 from the press release material. Electron microscope imagery of Sn3O4 catalyst. The synthesized material is a collection of microsized (one millionth of a meter) flaky crystals.
Credit: Copyright National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS)

Technology that allows the direct conversion of sunlight, an ultimate renewable energy, into chemical energies (i.e., fuels) that can be condensed and transported is not yet available. As such, solar energy is not ready at present to be utilized in place of conventional fossil and nuclear fuels.

Many water-splitting photocatalysts, such as titanium dioxide (TiO2), can decompose water and produce hydrogen fuel when absorbing ultraviolet light. However, due to their inability to absorb visible light, which accounts for more than half of solar energy, their practical use in the conversion of solar energy is limited. While the development of new photocatalysts that can split water by absorbing visible light has been worked on globally, there are cost- and environment-related issues because many of the available photocatalysts contain expensive rare metals, such as tantalum, or high concentrations of lead, which is very toxic.

Led by Hideki Abe and Naoto Umezawa, researchers at Japan's National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS) recently discovered a novel photocatalyst by integrating both theoretical and experimental sciences. The NIMS team searched for oxides containing divalent tin ions (Sn2+) based on the theoretical prediction that such substances may have an electronic structure conducive to water-splitting photocatalytic reactions under the presence of visible light. As a result, they found a tin oxide, Sn3O4 (Sn2+2Sn4+O4), that is made up of divalent tin ions (Sn2+) and tetravalent tin ions (Sn4+). Their experiment revealed that this substance facilitates a water-splitting reaction leading to the generation of hydrogen when exposed to visible light which does not activate TiO2.

Since tin oxides are relatively non-toxic, inexpensive and abundant, they are widely used as transparent conductive materials. The discovery of the Sn3O4 catalyst is expected to greatly contribute to the reduction of environmental load and costs associated with hydrogen fuel production, and to the realization of a recycling-oriented society founded on the use of solar energy.

Results of this research will be published in the near future in the online version of Applied Materials & Interfaces, a journal issued by the American Chemical Society.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Institute for Materials Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Maidhily Manikandan, Toyokazu Tanabe, Peng Li, Shigenori Ueda, Gubbala V. Ramesh, Rajesh Kodiyath, Junjie Wang, Toru Hara, Arivuoli Dakshanamoorthy, Shinsuke Ishihara, Katsuhiko Ariga, Jinhua Ye, Naoto Umezawa, Hideki Abe. Photocatalytic Water Splitting under Visible Light by Mixed-Valence Sn3O4. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 2014; 6 (6): 3790 DOI: 10.1021/am500157u

Cite This Page:

National Institute for Materials Science. "An abundant and inexpensive water-splitting photocatalyst with low toxicity." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 April 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140416172027.htm>.
National Institute for Materials Science. (2014, April 16). An abundant and inexpensive water-splitting photocatalyst with low toxicity. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140416172027.htm
National Institute for Materials Science. "An abundant and inexpensive water-splitting photocatalyst with low toxicity." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140416172027.htm (accessed September 1, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Monday, September 1, 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