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Host-guest nanowires for efficient water splitting and solar energy storage

Date:
February 3, 2016
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
California is committed to 33 percent energy from renewable resources by 2020. With that deadline fast approaching, researchers across the state are busy exploring options. Solar energy is attractive but for widespread adoption, it requires transformation into a storable form. This week researchers report that nanowires made from multiple metal oxides could put solar ahead in this race.
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Artist's rendering of TiO2 nanowires act as hosts for BiVO4 guests in a water-splitting reaction.
Credit: Peidong Yang

California is committed to 33 percent energy from renewable resources by 2020. With that deadline fast approaching, researchers across the state are busy exploring options. Solar energy is attractive but for widespread adoption, it requires transformation into a storable form.

This week in ACS Central Science, researchers report that nanowires made from multiple metal oxides could put solar ahead in this race.

One way to harness solar power for broader use is through photoelectrochemical (PEC) water splitting that provides hydrogen for fuel cells. Many materials that can perform the reaction exist, but most of these candidates suffer from issues, ranging from efficiency to stability and cost.

Peidong Yang and colleagues designed a system where nanowires from one of the most commonly used materials (TiO2) acts as a "host" for "guest" nanoparticles from another oxide called BiVO4. BiVO4 is a newly introduced material that is among the best ones for absorbing light and performing the water splitting reaction, but does not carry charge well while TiO2 is stable, cheap and an efficient charge carrier but does not absorb light well.

Together with a unique studded nanowire architecture, the new system works better than either material alone. The authors state their approach can be used to improve the efficiencies of other photoconversion materials.


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The above post is reprinted from materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Joaquin Resasco, Hao Zhang, Nikolay Kornienko, Nigel Becknell, Hyunbok Lee, Jinghua Guo, Alejandro L. Briseno, Peidong Yang. TiO2/BiVO4Nanowire Heterostructure Photoanodes Based on Type II Band Alignment. ACS Central Science, 2016; DOI: 10.1021/acscentsci.5b00402

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American Chemical Society. "Host-guest nanowires for efficient water splitting and solar energy storage." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 February 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/02/160203085840.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2016, February 3). Host-guest nanowires for efficient water splitting and solar energy storage. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 25, 2016 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/02/160203085840.htm
American Chemical Society. "Host-guest nanowires for efficient water splitting and solar energy storage." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/02/160203085840.htm (accessed August 25, 2016).