A research team has developed a new technique for converting sunshine and water into hydrogen fuel.
A unique photocatalyst hydrogen production method has been created by a research team at the Department of Energy Science and Engineering, led by DGIST Professor Jong-Sung Yu. The team of researchers revealed in their research paper published in the journal Applied Catalysis B: Environmental, that they developed a new catalyst synthesis technique that can efficiently break down water into hydrogen and oxygen using solar light.
The new catalysts synthesis method is expected to facilitate hydrogen mass production.
Traditional photocatalyst hydrogen production methods are not as efficient as this new technique that allows photocatalysts to react to visible light, because existing methods have limitations due to these conventional photocatalysts reacting only to light in ultraviolet rays.
However, Professor Jong-Sung Yu’s team, along with Professor Smaule Mao’s team at UC Berkley in the US, developed a new H-doped photocatalyst by removing oxygen from the titanium dioxide photocatalyst surface and filing hydrogen into it through the break down of MgH2.
By developing the MgH2 reduction, the researchers were able to use oxygen flaw induction and H-doping to enable the use of solar light with 570nm-wavelength.
The photoactivity of the new photocatalyst hydrogen production method is four times higher than existing white titanium dioxide.
Beyond this advantage, the synthesized photocatalyst is not difficult to manufacture, which makes it highly beneficial for hydrogen mass production. Furthermore, the method developed by the researchers decreases band gap more than current Titanium dioxide photocatalyst used for hydrogen generation and can maintain four times higher activity and remain stable for more than 70 days. Additionally, unlike existing photosynthesis, the new technique can react to visible light, overcoming the restriction of hydrogen production.
“The photocatalyst developed this time is a synthesis method with much better performance than the existing photocatalyst method used to produce hydrogen,” said Professor Yu, as reported by EurekAlert!
“It is a very simple method that will greatly help commercialize hydrogen energy. With a follow-up research on improving the efficiency and economic feasibility of photocatalyst, we will take the lead in creating an environment stable hydrogen energy production that can replace fossil energy,” Yu added.
The new photocatalyst hydrogen production method is both efficient and stable, which could help to popularize hydrogen power in the future.