Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors


Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


DHgate

Home > Press > DoE grants fund work on new hydrogen fuel technologies at UCSC

Abstract:
Hydrogen from water using solar energy is the focus of one of the projects

Department of Energy grants fund work on new hydrogen fuel technologies at UCSC

Washington, DC | June 28, 2005

Nanotechnology may hold the key to developing a viable hydrogen economy, according to Jin Zhang, professor of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Zhang will receive $535,000 in grants from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for his part in two research projects aimed at developing new technologies for the production and storage of hydrogen fuel using nanostructured materials.

Producing hydrogen from water using solar energy is the focus of one of the projects. Zhang is leading that effort and is also a coinvestigator on a second project to develop a method for highly efficient hydrogen storage. Both of the three-year projects rely on a novel approach to create nanostructured materials with special properties. Nanostructure refers to dimensions on the scale of billionths of a meter.

"The goal is to produce clean energy," Zhang said. "The idea of using solar energy and water as a source of hydrogen is very attractive, and we believe nanostructured materials can be used to do this efficiently."

The grants are among 70 hydrogen research projects funded through a $64 million DOE initiative aimed at making vehicles powered by hydrogen fuel cells available, practical, and affordable for American consumers by 2020. Zhang's collaborators on the hydrogen production project are Yiping Zhao of the University of Georgia at Athens and Wei Chen of Nomadics Inc. The hydrogen storage project is headed by Zhao and also involves Matthew McCluskey of Washington State University.

Hydrogen offers an attractive alternative to fossil fuels because it is highly efficient and clean. But major technological hurdles must be overcome to make the use of hydrogen fuel practical.

The first hurdle is how to produce the hydrogen. Water molecules can be split to form pure hydrogen and oxygen using electricity (a process called electrolysis). But the environmental advantages of hydrogen would be lost if the electricity used to generate it came from burning fossil fuels. Using solar energy to split water and generate hydrogen is not a new concept, but Zhang says his team's approach could lead to a device efficient enough for practical use.

"We want to build a device that you can put in the sun, fill it with water, and get hydrogen without using any outside source of energy," Zhang said.

The device will integrate two kinds of solar cells--a photovoltaic cell to produce electricity and a photoelectrochemical cell to produce hydrogen from the electrolysis of water. Both will use specially designed materials based on arrays of nanowires with uniform orientation. The main focus of the project will be on developing these nanostructured materials to optimize the efficiency of both the photovoltaic cell and the photoelectrochemical cell.

The researchers will use a technique called glancing angle deposition (GLAD) to fabricate the nanowire arrays. Zhao is one of the pioneers in the development of this technique for making nanowires and nanorods. Zhang's lab will focus on characterizing the structure and properties of the materials Zhao makes and evaluating their suitability for achieving the highest possible efficiencies for the photovoltaic cell and the photoelectrochemical cell.

The hydrogen storage project will also involve using the GLAD technique to fabricate nanostructured materials. One of the problems with hydrogen as a fuel is that it is a bulky gas that is not easily transported and stored. A promising solution is to store it in a solid form as a metal hydride compound. Metal hydride nanostructures could greatly improve the efficiency of this type of storage, Zhang said.

"Nanostructures have a much larger surface area than bulk materials, so they could hold more hydrogen per unit weight," he said.

The researchers plan to find the optimum conditions for fabricating metal hydride nanostructures to achieve highly efficient hydrogen storage.

"The key to our success in each of these projects is the material. We need to understand the properties of these materials and then explore their applications in devices," Zhang said.

####


Note to reporters: You may contact Zhang at (831) 459-3776 or zhang@chemistry.ucsc.edu.

Contact:
Tim Stephens
(831) 459-2495
stephens@ucsc.edu

Copyright © University of California, Santa Cruz

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

Investments/IPO's/Splits

Nanometrics to Participate in the 8th Annual CEO Investor Summit: Investor Event Held Concurrently with SEMICON West 2016 in San Francisco June 22nd, 2016

Artificial synapse rivals biological ones in energy consumption June 21st, 2016

NanoLabNL boosts quality of research facilities as Dutch Toekomstfonds invests firmly June 10th, 2016

Nanometrics Announces Upcoming Investor Events May 10th, 2016

Materials/Metamaterials

Superheroes are real: Ultrasensitive nonlinear metamaterials for data transfer June 25th, 2016

Coexistence of superconductivity and charge density waves observed June 23rd, 2016

GraphExeter illuminates bright new future for flexible lighting devices June 23rd, 2016

Soft decoupling of organic molecules on metal June 23rd, 2016

Announcements

A drop of water as a model for the interplay of adhesion and stiction June 30th, 2016

No need in supercomputers: Russian scientists suggest a PC to solve complex problems tens of times faster than with massive supercomputers June 30th, 2016

Surprising qualities of insulator ring surfaces: Surface phenomena in ring-shaped topological insulators are just as controllable as those in spheres made of the same material June 30th, 2016

How cancer cells spread and squeeze through tiny blood vessels (video) June 30th, 2016

Environment

The use of nanoparticles and bioremediation to decontaminate polluted soils June 14th, 2016

UQ research accelerates next-generation ultra-precise sensing technology June 10th, 2016

VentureLab nanotechnology startup wins TechConnect Innovation Award June 2nd, 2016

The next generation of carbon monoxide nanosensors May 26th, 2016

Energy

Yale researchersí technology turns wasted heat into power June 27th, 2016

Nanoscientists develop the 'ultimate discovery tool': Rapid discovery power is similar to what gene chips offer biology June 25th, 2016

Researchers discover new chemical sensing technique: Technique allows sharper detail -- and more information -- with near infrared light June 24th, 2016

FEI and University of Liverpool Announce QEMSCAN Research Initiative: University of Liverpool will utilize FEIís QEMSCAN technology to gain a better insight into oil and gas reserves & potentially change the approach to evaluating them June 22nd, 2016

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







Car Brands
Buy website traffic