Artificial leaf breakthrough could lead to efficient hydrogen fuel production

February 24, 2014 0 By Angie Bergenson

Researchers find a way to improve their artificial leaf

Arizona State University - Hydrogen Fuel Cell ResearchResearchers from the Arizona State University and the Argonne National Laboratory have made a major breakthrough in artificial photosynthesis. The breakthrough may have enabled researchers to overcome serious limitations in their initial design of a functioning artificial leaf. This leaf has been heralded as a major accomplishment throughout the science world. It is able to harness the power of sunlight and generate hydrogen in an efficient manner that is comparable to the natural photosynthesis process.

Artificial photosynthesis could be an ideal hydrogen production process

Replicating photosynthesis has been a goal for many scientists for decades. Successfully mimicking the process could unlock new ways to produce energy and fuel resources. The artificial leaf has managed to highlight this prospect by generating hydrogen fuel using nothing more than energy generated from sunlight and water. Researchers believe that replicating photosynthesis could be an ideal hydrogen fuel production method.

Researchers find intermediate relay responsible for making photosynthesis operate more effectively

Initial designs of the artificial leaf from the Arizona State University and Argonne National Laboratory were unstable and the chemical production of hydrogen was slow and inefficient. According to researchers, an important aspect in the successful replication of photosynthesis had been missed. Turning back to the natural process, researchers were able to identify the use of an intermediate relay that allowed the transfer of electrons to be accelerated in an optimal manner. By including this relay in the artificial leaf, researchers were able to record a major improvement in the production capabilities of the leaf itself.

Finding efficient hydrogen production methods is vital to the success of fuel cells

Finding efficient ways to produce hydrogen fuel has become a major priority for those invested in renewable energy. Fuel cells are beginning to take a commanding position in the global auto industry and these energy systems are even beginning to attract attention as residential and commercial power suppliers. Without efficient hydrogen production methods, however, these energy systems may never be more than a passing fad as they will never become cost competitive with other forms of clean power.

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