It’s possible to produce hydrogen to power fuel cells by extracting the gas from seawater, but the electricity required to do it makes the process costly.
UCF researcher Yang Yang has come up with a new hybrid nanomaterial that harnesses solar energy and uses it to generate hydrogen from seawater more cheaply and efficiently than current materials.
The breakthrough could someday lead to a new source of the clean-burning fuel, ease demand for fossil fuels and boost the economy of Florida, where sunshine and seawater are abundant.
Yang, an assistant professor with joint appointments in the University of Central Florida’s NanoScience Technology Center and the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, has been working on solar hydrogen splitting for nearly 10 years.
As reported in the journal Energy & Environmental Science, Yang and his research team have developed a new catalyst that’s able to not only harvest a much broader spectrum of light than other materials, but also stand up to the harsh conditions found in seawater.
With its new material, Yang’s team is able to significantly boost the bandwidth of light that can be harvested.
Explore further: A new way to produce clean hydrogen fuel from water using sunlight.