Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
  Energy News  




Subscribe to our free daily newsletters



ENERGY TECH
Controlling electron spin for efficient water splitting
by Staff Writers
Rehovot, Israel (SPX) Apr 12, 2017


Supramolecular structures select spins only if they are chiral. Image courtesy Weizmann Institute of Science.

Water is made of oxygen and hydrogen, and splitting water molecules to produce hydrogen for fuel is a promising path for alternative energy. One of the main obstacles to making hydrogen production a reality is that current methods of water splitting result in hydrogen peroxide also being formed: This affects both the efficiency of the reaction and the stability of the production process.

Israeli and Dutch researchers from the Weizmann Institute of Science and Eindhoven University of Technology have succeeded in almost fully suppressing the production of hydrogen peroxide by controlling the spin of electrons in the reaction.

The group published these findings this week in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. The efficient production of hydrogen paves the way toward the use of solar energy to split water.

The goal is to produce hydrogen with photoelectrochemical (solar) cells, using light to split water. Unfortunately, the breaking apart of water molecules has been, up to now, relatively inefficient, and the hydrogen peroxide formed as a by-product corrodes some of the electrodes, thus further reducing the efficiency of the process.

Electron spin
The researchers, led by professors Ron Naaman of the Weizmann Institute of Science and Bert Meijer of Eindhoven University of Technology, are the first to have specifically investigated the role of the spin - the internal magnetic moment - of electrons involved in these basic, oxygen-based chemical reactions.

They hypothesized that if both spins could be aligned, the formation of hydrogen peroxide would not occur, because the ground state of hydrogen peroxide needs two electrons with opposite spins. Oxygen, in contrast, is produced when the electrons have parallel spins.

Expectations exceeded
The secret to success was paint: The researchers covered one of the photoelectrochemical cell electrodes - the titanium-oxide anode - with organic paint containing chiral (molecules that are mirror images of each other), supramolecular structures of organic paint.

These unique structures enabled the scientists to inject only electrons with their spins aligned in a certain direction into the chemical reaction. This work was based on previous findings from Naaman's lab group, demonstrating that the transmission of electrons through chiral molecules is selective, depending on the electrons' spins.

"The effect on water splitting exceeded our expectations," says Naaman. "The formation of hydrogen peroxide was almost entirely suppressed. We also saw a significant increase in the cell's current. And because chiral molecules are very common in nature, we expect this finding may have significance in many areas of research."

The researchers are not yet able to say exactly how well this finding can improve the efficiency of hydrogen production. "Our goal was to be able to control the reaction and to understand what exactly was going on," explains Meijer.

"In some ways, this was a stroke of luck because the supramolecular structures had not originally been intended for this purpose. It goes to show how important supramolecular chemistry is as a fundamental field of research, and we're very busy optimizing the process."

ENERGY TECH
Physicists develop ultrathin superconducting film
Saarbrucken, Germany (SPX) Apr 10, 2017
Experimental physicists in the research group led by Professor Uwe Hartmann at Saarland University have developed a thin nanomaterial with superconducting properties. Below about -200 C these materials conduct electricity without loss, levitate magnets and can screen magnetic fields. The particularly interesting aspect of this work is that the research team has succeeded in creating super ... read more

Related Links
Weizmann Institute of Science
Powering The World in the 21st Century at Energy-Daily.com


Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once


credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly


paypal only

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

ENERGY TECH
U.S. emissions generally lower last year

World Bank urges more investment for developing global electricity

US states begin legal action on Trump energy delay

Program to be axed saves energy in LA buildings

ENERGY TECH
Controlling electron spin for efficient water splitting

Scientists further understanding of a process that causes heat loss in fusion devices

How some battery materials expand without cracking

Art of paper-cutting inspires self-charging paper device

ENERGY TECH
German power company examining new wind energy options.

Canada sees emerging role for wind energy

U.N. says low-carbon economy not a "pipe dream"

Mega-wind farm offshore Denmark clears hurdle

ENERGY TECH
Powerpedia Forms Nonprofit to Provide Free Solar Systems to Orphanages Throughout Baja Mexico and Beyond

IEA: India needs diverse investments in renewables

Upsolar Introduces its Floating Solar Technology to Europe

Americans use more clean energy in 2016

ENERGY TECH
AREVA NP Signs Contract for Outage Services at Farley Nuclear Generating Station

AREVA and KAZATOMPROM sign a strategic agreement

S.Africa to re-think nuclear deal after junk status : ANC

France enshrines decision to close oldest nuclear plant

ENERGY TECH
For Palestinian family, an udder-ly unique power source

Algal residue - an alternative carbon resource for pharmaceuticals and polyesters

Gripen fighter completes test flights using 100 percent biofuel

Scientists engineer sugarcane to produce biodiesel, more sugar for ethanol

ENERGY TECH
Anticipating hazards from fracking-induced earthquakes in Canada and US

No end in sight for rally on crude oil prices

Russia plans to cut oil output by 300,000 barrels per day

Shell claims low-carbon edge

ENERGY TECH
Drought, conflict and famine in Africa

Tibet sediments reveal climate patterns from late Miocene, 6 million years ago

Performance of the RegCM4 regional climate model over China

How ENSO and Atlantic ADO impact East Asian winter monsoon




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News






The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement