Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
  Energy News  




Subscribe to our free daily newsletters



ENERGY TECH
Photocatalyst makes hydrogen production 10 times more efficient
by Staff Writers
Kobe, Japan (SPX) May 22, 2017


(a)This is a light emission from SrTiO3 mesocrystals obtained in a 24-hour hydrothermal reaction. A weak light is seen equally throughout apart from the crystal edges. (b)This is a light emission from SrTiO3 mesocrystals obtained in a 48-hour hydrothermal reaction. They shine strongly due to the electrons gathered around the large crystals on the surface. The light emitted has a wavelength of 405nm. Credit Kobe University

Hydrogen is an alternative source of energy that can be produced from renewable sources of sunlight and water. A group of Japanese researchers has developed a photocatalyst that increases hydrogen production tenfold.

The discovery was made by a joint research team led by Associate Professor TACHIKAWA Takashi (Molecular Photoscience Research Center, Kobe University) and Professor MAJIMA Tetsuro (Institute of Scientific and Industrial Research, Osaka University). Their findings were published on April 6 in the online version of Angewandte Chemie International Edition.

When light is applied to photocatalysts, electrons and holes are produced on the surface of the catalyst, and hydrogen is obtained when these electrons reduce the hydrogen ions in water. However, in traditional photocatalysts the holes that are produced at the same time as the electrons mostly recombine on the surface of the catalyst and disappear, making it difficult to increase conversion efficiency.

Professor Tachikawa's research group developed a photocatalyst made of mesocrystal, deliberately creating a lack of uniformity in size and arrangement of the crystals. This new photocatalyst is able to spatially separate the electrons and electron holes to prevent them recombining. As a result, it has a far more efficient conversion rate for producing hydrogen than conventional nanoparticulate photocatalysts (approximately 7%).

The team developed a new method called "Topotactic Epitaxial Growth" that uses the nanometer-sized spaces in mesocrystals. Based on this synthesis method they were able to synthesize strontium titanate (SrTiO3) from a compound with a different structure, titanium oxide (TiO2), using a simple one-step hydrothermal reaction. By lengthening the reaction time, they could also grow larger particles near the surface while preserving their crystalline structure.

When they attached a co-catalyst to the synthesized mesocrystal and applied ultraviolet light in water, the reaction occurred with approximately 7% light energy conversion efficiency. Under the same conditions, SrTiO3 nanoparticles which had not been converted into mesocrystals reached a conversion efficiency of less than 1%, proving that the reaction efficiency increased tenfold under the mesocrystal structure. When each particle was examined under a fluorescent microscope, the team found that the electrons produced during the reaction gathered around the larger nanocrystals.

When exposed to ultraviolet light, the electrons in this newly-developed photocatalyst move smoothly between the nanoparticles inside the mesocrystal, gather around the larger nanocrystals generated on the surface of the crystal, and efficiently reduce the hydrogen ions to create hydrogen.

The discovery of this powerful photocatalyst started with the researchers' idea to "deliberately break down the ordered structure of mesocrystals", a concept that could be applied to other materials.

The strontium titanate used this time is a cubic crystal, which means there is no variation in molecular adsorption or the reaction strength for each crystal plane. By regulating the size and spatial arrangement of the nanocrystals, which form the building blocks for this structure, it may be possible to greatly increase the light energy conversion efficiency of the existing system.

Using these findings, the research group plans to apply mesocrystal technology to realizing the super-efficient production of hydrogen from solar energy. The perovskite metal oxides, including strontium titanate, the target of this study, are the fundamental materials of electronic elements, so their results could be applied to a wide range of fields.

Research paper

ENERGY TECH
Stretching the limits of elastic conductors
Tokyo, Japan (SPX) May 26, 2017
A newly developed printable elastic conductor retains high conductivity even when stretched to as much as five times its original length, says a Japanese team of scientists. The new material, produced in paste-like ink form, can be printed in various patterns on textiles and rubber surfaces as stretchable wiring for wearable devices incorporating sensors, as well as give human skin-like function ... read more

Related Links
Kobe University
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
China further opens energy sector to private investment

Australia power grid leased to local-foreign consortium

Poland central to EU energy diversification strategy

Myanmar recovery linked to development of electrical grid

ENERGY TECH
Advancing next-generation Stable, safe, smart, sustainable batteries

New approach to revolutionize the production of molecular hydrogen

Stretching the limits of elastic conductors

Photocatalyst makes hydrogen production 10 times more efficient

ENERGY TECH
U.S. states taking up wind energy mantle

GE Energy Financial Services Surpasses $15 Billion in Renewable Energy Investments

Scientists track porpoises to assess impact of offshore wind farms

Dutch open 'world's largest offshore' wind farm

ENERGY TECH
Solar cells more efficient thanks to new material standing on edge

How to obtain highly crystalline organic-inorganic perovskite films for solar cells

Smart reform the key to unlock energy storage revolution

Keystone lowers energy costs with rooftop solar installation in New Jersey

ENERGY TECH
Swiss vote for gradual nuclear phaseout, energy makeover

Why nuclear could become the next 'fossil' fuel

Hungary: AREVA NP awarded contract for safety IC modernization at Paks Nuclear Power Plant

India to build 10 domestic nuclear power reactors

ENERGY TECH
Discovery of an alga's 'dictionary of genes' could lead to advances in biofuels, medicine

A full life cycle assessment of second-generation biofuels

Triple play boosting value of renewable fuel could tip market in favor of biomass

Insight into enzyme's 3-D structure could cut biofuel costs

ENERGY TECH
Michigan, a volatile market for gas prices, sees demand go up

Budget for shale-rich Oklahoma disappoints

U.S. oil production centers shift away from hurricane belt

New oil production starts offshore Brazil

ENERGY TECH
Weathering of rocks a poor regulator of global temperatures

The forces that affect species' movements in a changing climate

Merkel vows to convince climate change 'doubters'

Fossil beetles suggest that LA climate has been relatively stable for 50,000 years




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