Leave it to those silly scientists to go around coming up with ideas and experiments. A couple of these out of the box thinkers have discovered how to use light to split water into oxygen and clean-burning hydrogen. And they figured out how to do it on the cheap. The device is a silicon semiconductor coated in an ultrathin layer of nickel and could be used in the future to make clean burning hydrogen on a larger scale. The study is published in The Journal of Science.
The goal is to supplement solar cells with hydrogen-powered fuel cells that can generate electricity when the sun isn’t shining or demand is high.
“Solar cells only work when the sun is shining,” says study co-author Hongjie Dai, a professor of chemistry at Stanford University. “When there’s no sunlight, utilities often have to rely on electricity from conventional power plants that run on coal or natural gas.”
This image shows two electrodes connected via an external voltage source splitting water into oxygen (O2) and hydrogen (H2). The illuminated silicon electrode (left) uses light energy to assist in the water-splitting process and is protected from the surrounding electrolyte by a 2-nm film of nickel. (Credit: Guosong Hong, Stanford University)
Amazing stuff and it is just awesome to see these guys still working hard to come up with solutions for energy consumption. Hit the source link below for more info, it’s a great read.