Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Nano Team Increases Efficiency of Sun-to-Fuel Process

Abstract:
Researchers find great promise in a process that could use solar energy to use hydrogen, the third most abundant element on earth's surface, as the ultimate alternative to fossil fuels. This process increase dramatically the efficiency of titania photoanodes used to convert solar energy into hydrogen in fuel cells.

Nano Team Increases Efficiency of Sun-to-Fuel Process

Little Rock, AR | Posted on March 20th, 2009

Researchers at UALR -- the University of Arkansas at Little Rock -- said they have developed a process involving nanostructure that shows great promise in boosting the efficiency of titania photoanodes used to convert solar energy into hydrogen in fuel cells.

Hydrogen, the third most abundant element on earth's surface, has long been recognized as the ultimate alternative to fossil fuels as an energy carrier. Automobiles using hydrogen directly or in fuel cells have already been developed, but the biggest challenge has been how to produce hydrogen using renewable sources of energy.

Scientists in Japan discovered in 1970 that semiconductor oxide photoanodes can harness the photons from solar radiation and used them to split a water molecule into hydrogen and oxygen, but process was too inefficient to be viable.

The UALR team, working with researchers at the University of Nevada, Reno, and supported by the U.S. Department of Energy and the Arkansas Science and Technology Authority (ASTA), has reported an 80 percent increase in efficiency with a new process.

The new process has been outlined in a recent study published in the journal Nanotechnology and also reported on the website Nanotechweb.org.

Electrochemical methods were utilized to synthesize titania photoanodes with nanotubular structures. The photoanode surfaces were then subjected to low-pressure nitrogen plasma to modify their surface properties. The plasma treatment increased the light absorption by the photoanode surface. It also removed surface impurities that are detrimental for photoelectrochemical hydrogen production.

"The plasma treatment significantly enhanced the photo electrochemical activity of the samples," said Dr. Rajesh Sharma, assistant research professor in applied science in UALR's Donaghey College of Engineering and Information Technology (EIT). "The photocurrent density of plasma treated material was approximately 80 percent higher than that of the control electrodes."

Sharma's highly interdisciplinary research interests encompass materials science, electrostatics, and particulate technology. He developed an atmospheric pressure plasma reactor for surface modification of materials in a variety of applications.

In addition to his work on nanostructured materials for photoelectrochemical processes, he is also working on development of an electrodynamic screen for dust mitigation application for future Mars and Lunar missions.

In addition to Sharma, the project team includes Drs. Alexandru Biris, assistant professor in applied science and chief science officer of Nanotechnology Center at UALR; UALR Professor-emeritus Malay Mazumder, and UALR undergraduate student Jacob Bock of Cabot.

Team members in Nevada include Dr. Mano Misra in the Department of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering at UNR, and graduate students Prajna P. Das and Vishal Mahajan at the UNR.

Dr. Steve Trigwell, manager of the Applied Science and Technology Laboratories at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, also participated in the research.

####

About Newswise
UALR is a metropolitan university on the move, a dynamic learning institution where students find unique learning and internship opportunities provided through one-of-a-kind connections to the state’s thriving capital city.

Contacts:
Joan I. Duffy
UALR Office of Communications
(501) 569-8600

Copyright © Newswise

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 Links

UALR

Related News Press

News and information

Ag/ZnO-Nanorods Schottky diodes based UV-PDs are fabricated and tested May 26th, 2017

New metamaterial-enhanced MRI technique tested on humans May 26th, 2017

Controlling 3-D behavior of biological cells using laser holographic techniques May 26th, 2017

Unveiling the quantum necklace: Researchers simulate quantum necklace-like structures in superfluids May 26th, 2017

Possible Futures

Ag/ZnO-Nanorods Schottky diodes based UV-PDs are fabricated and tested May 26th, 2017

New metamaterial-enhanced MRI technique tested on humans May 26th, 2017

Controlling 3-D behavior of biological cells using laser holographic techniques May 26th, 2017

Unveiling the quantum necklace: Researchers simulate quantum necklace-like structures in superfluids May 26th, 2017

Announcements

Ag/ZnO-Nanorods Schottky diodes based UV-PDs are fabricated and tested May 26th, 2017

New metamaterial-enhanced MRI technique tested on humans May 26th, 2017

Controlling 3-D behavior of biological cells using laser holographic techniques May 26th, 2017

Unveiling the quantum necklace: Researchers simulate quantum necklace-like structures in superfluids May 26th, 2017

Energy

Three-dimensional graphene: Experiment at BESSY II shows that optical properties are tuneable May 24th, 2017

Stanford scientists use nanotechnology to boost the performance of key industrial catalyst May 18th, 2017

Fed grant backs nanofiber development: Rice University joins Department of Energy 'Next Generation Machines' initiative May 10th, 2017

Discovery of new transparent thin film material could improve electronics and solar cells: Conductivity is highest-ever for thin film oxide semiconductor material May 6th, 2017

Automotive/Transportation

GLOBALFOUNDRIES and Chengdu Partner to Expand FD-SOI Ecosystem in China: More than $100M investment to establish a center of excellence for FDXTM FD-SOI design May 23rd, 2017

Stanford scientists use nanotechnology to boost the performance of key industrial catalyst May 18th, 2017

Self-healing tech charges up performance for silicon-containing battery anodes May 15th, 2017

UnitySC Announces Wafer Thinning Inspection System; Win from Power Semiconductor IDM for Automotive: Leading IDM Selects New 4See Series Automated Defect Inspection Platform for Power Semiconductor Automotive Applications May 11th, 2017

Fuel Cells

Stanford scientists use nanotechnology to boost the performance of key industrial catalyst May 18th, 2017

MIT Energy Initiative awards 10 seed fund grants for early-stage energy research May 4th, 2017

Promising results obtained with a new electrocatalyst that reduces the need for platinum: Researchers from Aalto University have succeeded in manufacturing electrocatalysts used for storing electric energy with one-hundredth of the amount of platinum that is usually needed March 24th, 2017

Scientists boost catalytic activity for key chemical reaction in fuel cells: New platinum-based catalysts with tensile surface strain could improve fuel cell efficiency December 19th, 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