Researchers make progress on artificial leaf that can produce hydrogen fuel

September 15, 2015 0 By Stephen Vagus

Artificial leaf uses solar energy to generate the electricity needed to produce hydrogen fuel

Researchers from Monash University in Australia have developed an artificial leaf that may be close to seeing use in homes and businesses. The artificial leaf is designed to absorb sunlight to produce hydrogen fuel, which can then be used to generate electrical power. According to researchers, the artificial leaf is capable of producing more hydrogen than its previous iterations, which may make it a very attractive hydrogen fuel production solution.

Researchers focus on making the artificial leaf as efficient as possible

The research team is not the first to tackle the creation of an artificial leaf, but they are working on improving the two primary functions of such a solutions. The first function is to collect solar energy as efficiently as possible. The second function involves using this energy to produce fuel, with hydrogen being the preferred option. Researchers have made use of highly efficient photovoltaic technology, which has been affixed to a system that uses the electricity these technologies produce to split water into hydrogen and oxygen.

Hydrogen may become a very efficient means of storing solar energy

Energy from Sun to Create Hydrogen Fuel - Image of water in bottleThe artificial leaf system may be an effective solar energy storage solutions. The concept of using hydrogen fuel as a form of chemical storage for solar power is becoming more popular. Conventional storage solutions are often considered inefficient, with a significant portion of electrical power being lost during the storage process. Hydrogen, however, can solve this problem, and it can be used in fuel cells to produce electrical power at a later time.

Renewable energy could be used to efficiently produce hydrogen fuel in an environmentally friendly manner

Using solar energy to produce hydrogen fuel is also considered to be a more efficient way to generate energy in general. Conventional methods of producing hydrogen fuel make use of a significant amount of fossil-fuels, which makes hydrogen less environmentally friendly than many would suppose. Using renewable energy to produce hydrogen would make the fuel more attractive when it comes to producing electrical power.