According to some estimates, the amount of solar energy reaching the surface of the earth in a year is greater than the sum of all the energy we can produce using non-renewable resources. The technology necessary to convert sunlight into electrical energy has developed rapidly, but the low efficiency of storage and distribution of that electrical energy is still a major problem, which makes solar energy impractical on a large scale.
However, researchers from the UVA Academy and the School of Arts and Sciences, the California Institute of Technology and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Brookhaven National Laboratory have made breakthroughs that can eliminate this A key obstacle in the process, this discovery represents a huge step towards a clean energy future.
One way to use solar energy is to use solar energy to break water molecules into oxygen and hydrogen. The hydrogen produced by this process is stored in the form of fuel, can be transferred from one place to another, and used to generate electricity as needed. In order to decompose water molecules into their constituent parts, a catalyst is necessary, but the catalytic materials currently used in this method (also called oxygen escape reaction) are not efficient enough to make this method practical.
However, using an innovative chemical strategy developed by UVA, a group of researchers led by chemistry professors Sen Zhang and T. Brent Gunnoe produced a new type of catalyst using cobalt and titanium. The advantage of these elements is that they are inherently richer than other commonly used catalytic materials containing precious metals such as iridium or ruthenium.
Assistant Professor of Chemistry Zhang Sen (left) and Commonwealth Professor of Chemistry T. Brent Gunnoe (center) are leading a research project aimed at improving the basics of new solar technology. Chang Liu (right), a fourth-year graduate student in Zhang’s laboratory, is the first author of their paper published in Natural Catalysis. Image source: University of Virginia
“The new process involves the creation of active catalytic sites at the atomic level on the surface of titanium oxide nanocrystals. This technology can produce durable catalytic materials and can better initiate oxygen release reactions.” Zhang said. “New methods for effective oxygen production reaction catalysts and a basic understanding of them are the key to the transition to large-scale use of renewable solar energy.” This work is how to optimize catalysts for clean energy technology by adjusting nanomaterials on the atomic scale A perfect example of efficiency. ”
According to Gunnoe, “This innovation is centered on the results of Zhang’s laboratory and represents a new way to improve and understand catalytic materials. The result involves the combination of advanced material synthesis, atomic energy level characterization and quantum mechanics theory. ”
“A few years ago, UVA joined the MAXNET Energy Consortium. The consortium consists of 8 Max Planck Institutes (Germany), UVA and Cardiff University (UK), which bring together international cooperation dedicated to electrocatalytic water oxidation. MAXNET Energy is The seeds of the current joint effort between our group and Zhang Lab. This effort has been and will continue to be a fruitful and fruitful cooperation.” Gunnoe said.
With the help of Argonne National Laboratory and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and their state-of-the-art synchrotron X-ray absorption spectrometer user facility, which uses radiation to examine the structure of matter at the atomic level, the research team found that the catalyst has a well-defined Surface structure, which allows them to clearly see how the catalyst is released during the oxygen release reaction, and can accurately evaluate its performance.
“This research uses X-ray beam lines from advanced photon sources and advanced light sources, including a part of the “quick access” program for rapid feedback loops to explore emerging or urgent scientific ideas.” Ray physicist Hua Zhou, the co-author of the paper. “We are very pleased that both of these national science user agencies can make substantial contributions to such ingenious and neat work in water treatment, which will provide a leap in the development of clean energy technology.”
Both the Advanced Photon Source and the Advanced Light Source are the United States Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Scientific User Facilities, located at DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
In addition, the California Institute of Technology researchers can accurately predict the rate of oxygen production caused by the catalyst using the newly developed quantum mechanics method, so that the research team has a deeper understanding of the chemical mechanism of the reaction.
“For more than five years, we have been developing new quantum mechanics technology to understand the mechanism of the oxygen release reaction, but in all previous studies, we were unable to determine the exact catalyst structure. Zhang’s catalyst has a clear atomic structure. We It is found that our theoretical output is basically consistent with the experimental observables.” said William A. Goddard III, Professor of Chemistry, Materials Science and Applied Physics at California Institute of Technology. One of the main investigators of the project. “This provides the first strong experimental verification of our new theoretical approach, and we can now use it to predict even better catalysts that can be synthesized and tested. This is an important milestone towards global clean energy.”
Jill Venton, head of the Department of Chemistry at UVA, said: “This work is a good example of the teamwork of UVA and other researchers dedicated to clean energy and exciting discoveries in these interdisciplinary collaborations.”
The paper by Zhang, Gunnoe, Zhou and Goddard was published in “Nature Catalysis” on December 14, 2020. The co-author of the paper is UVA PhD Chang Liu. Students from the Zhang group and Jin Qian from the California Institute of Technology. Students in the Goddard group. Other authors include UVA undergraduate Colton Sheehan; Zhang Zhiyong, UVA postdoctoral fellow; California Institute of Technology postdoctoral researcher Hyeyoung Shin; three researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Ye Yifan, Liu Yisheng and Guo Jinghua; and two researchers at Argonne National Laboratory, Wan Gang With Sun Cheng-jun; Shuang Li and Sooyeon Hwang, two researchers at Brookhaven National Laboratory. Their research was supported by user facilities funded by the National Science Foundation and the US Department of Energy.
References: Liu Chang, Jin Qian, Ye Yifan, Zhou Hua, Sun Chengjun, Colton Xihan, Zhang Zhiyong, Zhang Gang, Wan Gang, “On the surface of clear brookite TiO2 nanorods to catalyze the release of single-center Co Oxygen reaction”-Liu Sheng, Guo Jinghua, Li Shuang, Shen Huiying, Huang Xiuyan, T. Brent Gunnau, William Goddard III and Zhang Sen, December 14, 2020, Natural Catalysis. DOI: 10.1038/s41929-020-00550-5
The Schatz Laboratory at Humboldt State University in Akata, California, invented a hydrogen fuel cell that can store solar energy for about 20 years.
If only about 5% hydrogen is added to the existing fuel (via the BCU), it will burn completely and efficiently in the engine cylinder. The exhaust gas will be CO, CO2 and water; no particulate pollution. (However, it still cannot solve the greenhouse gas of global warming). The DEF system on your car or truck no longer needs a catalytic converter, which will be cleaner. It can work even if the motor is cold. They used it in a diesel forklift in the warehouse to keep the air clean. The carbon fiber tank can hold hydrogen, and then any quality or type of fuel can be used in your vehicle (as long as you have the correct injector). After boosting, you can even burn untreated waste vegetable oil in the SPARK-burning electric motor (of course it can also be a diesel electric motor). “They” don’t want this! The United States possesses the fact that all gasoline in the world is sold in U.S. dollars and thus gained political power. If you want oil, then you will be supported by the U.S. government and you must follow their instructions. Of course, many people really get rich wealth from oil. They keep the system running normally. However, they are not the ones that protect hydrogen. It is the world economic system itself.
“The hydrogen produced by this process is stored in the form of fuel, can be transferred from one place to another, and used to generate electricity as needed…”
Hydrogen can leak violent things and embrittle metals. I guess we can use all the cheap, abundant graphene sheets to cover the ducts and storage tanks…oh wait, no.
Cobalt? Of course, there is no problem there…At the same time, lithium-ion battery manufacturers are trying to “get rid of” the cobalt in the cathode.
Kinda is tired of the most dishonest mantras about solar inefficiency. There are simple ways to efficiently store energy, such as moving a truck filled with rocks onto a slope.
Even if it is a bit inefficient, who cares if you have unlimited resources, and the price of solar cells (which can last for more than 20 years) is falling. No technology can run 100% efficiently… Why do you think the internal combustion engine is too hot? Heat is wasted energy, noise is wasted energy, those vibrations are wasted energy, and so on.
They said that if you repeat the lie, the lie becomes credible. I think many people also believe this lie, all the “problems” about the sun and the wind…but it is a lie.
Guys, there is no need for scientific miracles here. People only need to do this to buy electricity instead of fuel.
Of course, I’m all doing research and other work, but please don’t be dishonest when making publicity. Of course, hydrogen is useful. In the short term, hydrogen will need to be used to remove carbon from heavy aircraft (such as large jet airliners and container ships)… But for a long time, hydrogen has been regarded as a realistic solution to the overall energy needs of mankind, while electricity has been proven time and time again to meet most needs.
If we want a carbon dioxide neutral energy system, we need to use renewable resources to make green hydrogen. Today, about half of the hydrogen produced in the world, more than 30 million tons are used to make ammonia. The production of ammonia, which is used to produce fertilizers, has increased crop yields, thereby providing food for 3 billion people worldwide. As the population continues to grow, we will need more ammonia fertilizers. Therefore, this is not only needed for transportation fuel.
This result is of no value for electrolysis. Although the science is good, the proposed application is just hype, and the proposed material is useless for commercial electrolysis. You can now buy large alkaline electrolyzers and have been in commercial use since the 1920s. (Look at Nel Hydrogen, McPhy or Siemens, even Cummins sells them). Alkaline electrolyzers use low-cost nickel electrodes, which are much cheaper and easier to manufacture than the materials described here. Alkaline electrolyzers also do not use expensive precious metal catalysts, such as platinum and iridium. They operate at hundreds of milliamps per square centimeter and run continuously for more than 60,000 hours. The report did not even bother to compare its catalyst with the current foamed nickel electrodes used in commercial systems, nor did it bother to operate its catalyst in the environment of the catalyst used in commercial systems (20-30% KOH). In addition, they put the catalyst on a carbon substrate, which is absolutely not allowed in commercial systems. In the case of releasing oxygen, the carbon substrate will corrode into CO2, which quickly causes the electrode to fail. Corrosion reactions also increase the energy of the system, so you cannot really tell the performance of the catalyst anyway.
These types of reports are useless in this field, but it sounds like electrolysis technology is not commercialized. In fact, you can buy a MW size electrolyzer. Today, about 2 million tons of hydrogen are produced through electrolysis each year. The problem is that the hydrogen produced by steam methane reforming is cheaper than electrolysis. Despite the availability of cheap electricity and low-cost electrolyzers, electrolytic hydrogen is still catching up. The decline in the cost of renewable energy generation is one of the reasons that promote the discussion of green hydrogen through electrolysis. I would also like to point out that Siemens and other companies are manufacturing gas turbines that can burn 100% hydrogen. The conversion efficiency of this gas turbine may be as high as 80%, similar to current natural gas turbine systems.
SciTechDaily: The best home of science and technology news since 1998. Keep up to date with the latest technology news via email or social media.
The new atomic clock design uses entangled atoms to help scientists discover dark matter and study the effect of gravity on time. The atomic clock is…

Post time: Nov-21-2020