Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors





Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


android tablet pc

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

TARA Biosystems and Harris & Harris Group Form Company to Improve Safety and Efficacy of New Therapies October 22nd, 2014

Arrowhead Issues Open Letter to Shareholders October 9th, 2014

PEN Inc. Announces New Trading Symbol: PENC: Stock Continues Trading on the OTCQB September 3rd, 2014

Aspen Aerogels, Inc. to Present at Barclays CEO Energy-Power Conference August 27th, 2014

Materials/Metamaterials

Researchers patent a nanofluid that improves heat conductivity October 22nd, 2014

Materials for the next generation of electronics and photovoltaics: MacArthur Fellow develops new uses for carbon nanotubes October 21st, 2014

Super stable garnet ceramics may be ideal for high-energy lithium batteries October 21st, 2014

Could I squeeze by you? Ames Laboratory scientists model molecular movement within narrow channels of mesoporous nanoparticles October 21st, 2014

Announcements

Haydale Secures Exclusive Development and Supply Agreement with Tantec A/S: New reactors to be built and commissioned by Tantec A/S represent another step forward towards the commercialisation of graphene October 24th, 2014

QuantumWise guides the semiconductor industry towards the atomic scale October 24th, 2014

Advancing thin film research with nanostructured AZO: Innovnano’s unique and cost-effective AZO sputtering targets for the production of transparent conducting oxides October 23rd, 2014

Strengthening thin-film bonds with ultrafast data collection October 23rd, 2014

Environment

Iranian, Malaysian Scientists Study Nanophotocatalysts for Water Purification October 23rd, 2014

Imaging electric charge propagating along microbial nanowires October 20th, 2014

Physicists build reversible laser tractor beam October 20th, 2014

Plastic nanoparticles also harm freshwater organisms October 18th, 2014

Energy

Nanoparticle technology triples the production of biogas October 23rd, 2014

Advancing thin film research with nanostructured AZO: Innovnano’s unique and cost-effective AZO sputtering targets for the production of transparent conducting oxides October 23rd, 2014

Researchers patent a nanofluid that improves heat conductivity October 22nd, 2014

Could I squeeze by you? Ames Laboratory scientists model molecular movement within narrow channels of mesoporous nanoparticles October 21st, 2014

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







© Copyright 1999-2014 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE