Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
  Energy News  




Subscribe free to our newsletters via your




















BIO FUEL
New materials could turn water into the fuel of the future
by Staff Writers
Pasadena CA (SPX) Mar 07, 2017


New materials are created through deposition onto disks, which are then tested to determine their properties. Image courtesy Caltech.

Researchers at Caltech and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have - in just two years - nearly doubled the number of materials known to have potential for use in solar fuels. They did so by developing a process that promises to speed the discovery of commercially viable solar fuels that could replace coal, oil, and other fossil fuels.

Solar fuels, a dream of clean-energy research, are created using only sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide (CO2). Researchers are exploring a range of target fuels, from hydrogen gas to liquid hydrocarbons, and producing any of these fuels involves splitting water.

Each water molecule is comprised of an oxygen atom and two hydrogen atoms. The hydrogen atoms are extracted, and then can be reunited to create highly flammable hydrogen gas or combined with CO2 to create hydrocarbon fuels, creating a plentiful and renewable energy source. The problem, however, is that water molecules do not simply break down when sunlight shines on them - if they did, the oceans would not cover most of the planet. They need a little help from a solar-powered catalyst.

To create practical solar fuels, scientists have been trying to develop low-cost and efficient materials, known as photoanodes, that are capable of splitting water using visible light as an energy source. Over the past four decades, researchers identified only 16 of these photoanode materials. Now, using a new high-throughput method of identifying new materials, a team of researchers led by Caltech's John Gregoire and Berkeley Lab's Jeffrey Neaton and Qimin Yan have found 12 promising new photoanodes.

A paper about the method and the new photoanodes appears the week of March 6 in the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The new method was developed through a partnership between the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis (JCAP) at Caltech, and Berkeley Lab's Materials Project, using resources at the Molecular Foundry and the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC).

"This integration of theory and experiment is a blueprint for conducting research in an increasingly interdisciplinary world," says Gregoire, JCAP thrust coordinator for Photoelectrocatalysis and leader of the High Throughput Experimentation group. "It's exciting to find 12 new potential photoanodes for making solar fuels, but even more so to have a new materials discovery pipeline going forward."

"What is particularly significant about this study, which combines experiment and theory, is that in addition to identifying several new compounds for solar fuel applications, we were also able to learn something new about the underlying electronic structure of the materials themselves," says Neaton, the director of the Molecular Foundry.

Previous materials discovery processes relied on cumbersome testing of individual compounds to assess their potential for use in specific applications. In the new process, Gregoire and his colleagues combined computational and experimental approaches by first mining a materials database for potentially useful compounds, screening it based on the properties of the materials, and then rapidly testing the most promising candidates using high-throughput experimentation.

In the work described in the PNAS paper, they explored 174 metal vanadates - compounds containing the elements vanadium and oxygen along with one other element from the periodic table.

The research, Gregoire says, reveals how different choices for this third element can produce materials with different properties, and reveals how to "tune" those properties to make a better photoanode.

"The key advance made by the team was to combine the best capabilities enabled by theory and supercomputers with novel high throughput experiments to generate scientific knowledge at an unprecedented rate," Gregoire says.

The study is titled "Solar fuels photoanode materials discovery by integrating high-throughput theory and experiment." Other authors from Caltech include JCAP research engineers Santosh Suram, Lan Zhou, Aniketa Shinde, and Paul Newhouse.

BIO FUEL
Biofuel produced by microalgae
Tokyo, Japan (SPX) Mar 01, 2017
In the modern society, energy generation heavily relies on fossil fuels, which, however, lead to environmental pollution and depletion of non-renewable resources. Photosynthetic organisms such as plants and green algae can transform atmospheric carbon dioxide into carbon storage molecules, especially oils such as triacylglycerols (TAGs), which can be used as biofuels. In this context, microalgae ... read more

Related Links
California Institute of Technology
Bio Fuel Technology and Application News

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once


credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly


paypal only

Comment on this article using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

BIO FUEL
King County Metro signs Urban Solar on for rare 10 year contract

DuPont Photovoltaic Solutions Introduces New Solamet

SOVENTIX developing solar parks of up to 140 megawatts in Alberta, Canada

meeco installed biggest solar energy plant in Zimbabwe

BIO FUEL
U.S. rig counts increased in February

More oil progress offshore Senegal

Gas prices steady, but wild swings reported regionally

Oil prices face pressure over slowing China

BIO FUEL
Wind energy gaining traction, U.S. trade group says

French, Spanish companies set for more wind power off coast of France

Breakthrough research for testing and arranging vertical axis wind turbines

German company to store US wind energy in batteries in Texas

BIO FUEL
A new approach to improving lithium-sulfur batteries

Imaging the inner workings of a sodium-metal sulfide battery for first time

ABB delivers first urban battery storage solution in Denmark to support renewables

Lithium-ion battery inventor introduces new technology for fast-charging, noncombustible batteries

BIO FUEL
EU approves Hungary's Kremlin-backed nuclear plant

Areva narrows losses in 2016

Researchers find new clues for nuclear waste cleanup

Next generation of nuclear robots will go where none have gone before

BIO FUEL
Australia sues Audi, Volkswagen over emissions cheating

Norway says half of new cars now electric or hybrid

Volkswagen to recall over 680,000 Audis in China

Pressure mounts on Uber and CEO after missteps

BIO FUEL
Hand-picked specialty crops 'ripe' for precision agriculture techniques

Researchers propose using CRISPR to accelerate plant domestication

Magic cover crop carpet

'Our daily bread' has hidden climate costs

BIO FUEL
Coffee-ring effect leads to crystallization control

3-D printing with plants

Researchers remotely control sequence in which 2-D sheets fold into 3-D structures

Scientists demonstrate improved particle warning to protect astronauts




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News








The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement