Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors
Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Saving sunshine for a rainy day: New catalyst offers efficient storage of green energy: Team led by U of T Engineering designs world's most efficient catalyst for storing energy as hydrogen by splitting water molecules

Researchers Xueli Zheng, left, and Dr. Bo Zhang set up their device to efficiently split water to store energy as hydrogen. The key is a catalyst made of tungsten, iron and cobalt that is over three times more efficient than the current state-of-the-art.
CREDIT: Marit Mitchell
Researchers Xueli Zheng, left, and Dr. Bo Zhang set up their device to efficiently split water to store energy as hydrogen. The key is a catalyst made of tungsten, iron and cobalt that is over three times more efficient than the current state-of-the-art.

CREDIT: Marit Mitchell

Abstract:
We can't control when the wind blows and when the sun shines, so finding efficient ways to store energy from alternative sources remains an urgent research problem. Now, a group of researchers led by Professor Ted Sargent at the University of Toronto's Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering may have a solution inspired by nature.

Saving sunshine for a rainy day: New catalyst offers efficient storage of green energy: Team led by U of T Engineering designs world's most efficient catalyst for storing energy as hydrogen by splitting water molecules

Toronto, Canada | Posted on March 28th, 2016

The team has designed the most efficient catalyst for storing energy in chemical form, by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen, just like plants do during photosynthesis. Oxygen is released harmlessly into the atmosphere, and hydrogen, as H2, can be converted back into energy using hydrogen fuel cells.

"Today on a solar farm or a wind farm, storage is typically provided with batteries. But batteries are expensive, and can typically only store a fixed amount of energy," says Sargent. "That's why discovering a more efficient and highly scalable means of storing energy generated by renewables is one of the grand challenges in this field."

You may have seen the popular high-school science demonstration where the teacher splits water into its component elements, hydrogen and oxygen, by running electricity through it. Today this requires so much electrical input that it's impractical to store energy this way -- too great proportion of the energy generated is lost in the process of storing it.

This new catalyst facilitates the oxygen-evolution portion of the chemical reaction, making the conversion from H2O into O2 and H2 more energy-efficient than ever before. The intrinsic efficiency of the new catalyst material is over three times more efficient than the best state-of-the-art catalyst.

The new catalyst is made of abundant and low-cost metals tungsten, iron and cobalt, which are much less expensive than state-of-the-art catalysts based on precious metals. It showed no signs of degradation over more than 500 hours of continuous activity, unlike other efficient but short-lived catalysts. Their work was published today in the leading journal Science.

"With the aid of theoretical predictions, we became convinced that including tungsten could lead to a better oxygen-evolving catalyst. Unfortunately, prior work did not show how to mix tungsten homogeneously with the active metals such as iron and cobalt," says Dr. Bo Zhang, one of the study's lead authors. "We invented a new way to distribute the catalyst homogenously in a gel, and as a result built a device that works incredibly efficiently and robustly."

This research united engineers, chemists, materials scientists, mathematicians, physicists, and computer scientists across three countries. A chief partner in this joint theoretical-experimental study was a leading team of theorists at Stanford University and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory under the leadership of Dr. Aleksandra Vojvodic. The international collaboration included researchers at East China University of Science & Technology, Tianjin University, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Canadian Light Source and the Beijing Synchrotron Radiation Facility.

"The team developed a new materials synthesis strategy to mix multiple metals homogeneously -- thereby overcoming the propensity of multi-metal mixtures to separate into distinct phases," said Jeffrey C. Grossman, the Morton and Claire Goulder and Family Professor in Environmental Systems at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "This work impressively highlights the power of tightly coupled computational materials science with advanced experimental techniques, and sets a high bar for such a combined approach. It opens new avenues to speed progress in efficient materials for energy conversion and storage."

"This work demonstrates the utility of using theory to guide the development of improved water-oxidation catalysts for further advances in the field of solar fuels," said Gary Brudvig, a professor in the Department of Chemistry at Yale University and director of the Yale Energy Sciences Institute.

"The intensive research by the Sargent group in the University of Toronto led to the discovery of oxy-hydroxide materials that exhibit electrochemically induced oxygen evolution at the lowest overpotential and show no degradation," said University Professor Gabor A. Somorjai of the University of California, Berkeley, a leader in this field. "The authors should be complimented on the combined experimental and theoretical studies that led to this very important finding."

###

Professor Sargent is the Canada Research Chair in Nanotechnology. The group's work was supported in large part by the Ontario Research Fund--Research Excellence Program, NSERC, the CIFAR Bio-Inspired Solar Energy Program and the U.S. Department of Energy.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Marit Mitchell

416-978-4498

Copyright © University of Toronto Faculty of Applied Science & Engineeri

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

News and information

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals Hosts R&D Day on Emerging Pipeline of RNAi Therapeutics October 18th, 2019

How perovskite in solar cells recrystallizes and why modified carbon nanotubes can help overcome the reproducibility problem by making use of this October 18th, 2019

Novel nanoprobes show promise for optical monitoring of neural activity: New approach for studying neural circuits offers advantages over both microelectrodes and fluorescence-based optical techniques that require genetic modifications October 18th, 2019

Highest-throughput 3D printer is future of manufacturing: Rapid manufacturing on-demand could put warehouses, molds into the past October 17th, 2019

Chemistry

Do you Kyoto? World-leading companies share their approaches to environmentally friendly business at NAUM’19 October 14th, 2019

Physics: An ultrafast glimpse of the photochemistry of the atmosphere October 11th, 2019

Water + air + electricity = hydrogen peroxide: Rice University breakthrough produces valuable chemical on demand at point of use October 10th, 2019

The future of materials with graphene nanotubes starts in Japan September 19th, 2019

Future of portable electronics -- Novel organic semiconductor with exciting properties: Researchers synthesize a new substance that can potentially be adapted to form a semiconductor with wide applications in electronics September 13th, 2019

Videos/Movies

Water + air + electricity = hydrogen peroxide: Rice University breakthrough produces valuable chemical on demand at point of use October 10th, 2019

Keystone Nano Announces FDA Approval of Investigational New Drug Application for Ceraxa for the Treatment of Acute Myeloid Leukemia September 18th, 2019

Possible Futures

Matching Investment Program (MIP) Leverages $140K Empire State Development/NYSTAR Funding to SUNY Poly’s CATN2 to Enable $1.5M in Matching Commitments from Industry Partners: Investment Funds Faculty Research Related to Advanced Materials, Genomics, and Semiconductor Reliability October 18th, 2019

How perovskite in solar cells recrystallizes and why modified carbon nanotubes can help overcome the reproducibility problem by making use of this October 18th, 2019

Novel nanoprobes show promise for optical monitoring of neural activity: New approach for studying neural circuits offers advantages over both microelectrodes and fluorescence-based optical techniques that require genetic modifications October 18th, 2019

Highest-throughput 3D printer is future of manufacturing: Rapid manufacturing on-demand could put warehouses, molds into the past October 17th, 2019

Discoveries

How perovskite in solar cells recrystallizes and why modified carbon nanotubes can help overcome the reproducibility problem by making use of this October 18th, 2019

Novel nanoprobes show promise for optical monitoring of neural activity: New approach for studying neural circuits offers advantages over both microelectrodes and fluorescence-based optical techniques that require genetic modifications October 18th, 2019

Highest-throughput 3D printer is future of manufacturing: Rapid manufacturing on-demand could put warehouses, molds into the past October 17th, 2019

Nanoparticles may have bigger impact on the environment than previously thought: Non-antibacterial nanoparticles can cause resistance in bacteria October 17th, 2019

Announcements

Matching Investment Program (MIP) Leverages $140K Empire State Development/NYSTAR Funding to SUNY Poly’s CATN2 to Enable $1.5M in Matching Commitments from Industry Partners: Investment Funds Faculty Research Related to Advanced Materials, Genomics, and Semiconductor Reliability October 18th, 2019

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals Hosts R&D Day on Emerging Pipeline of RNAi Therapeutics October 18th, 2019

How perovskite in solar cells recrystallizes and why modified carbon nanotubes can help overcome the reproducibility problem by making use of this October 18th, 2019

Novel nanoprobes show promise for optical monitoring of neural activity: New approach for studying neural circuits offers advantages over both microelectrodes and fluorescence-based optical techniques that require genetic modifications October 18th, 2019

Interviews/Book Reviews/Essays/Reports/Podcasts/Journals/White papers

How perovskite in solar cells recrystallizes and why modified carbon nanotubes can help overcome the reproducibility problem by making use of this October 18th, 2019

Novel nanoprobes show promise for optical monitoring of neural activity: New approach for studying neural circuits offers advantages over both microelectrodes and fluorescence-based optical techniques that require genetic modifications October 18th, 2019

Nanoparticles may have bigger impact on the environment than previously thought: Non-antibacterial nanoparticles can cause resistance in bacteria October 17th, 2019

Physics: DNA-PAINT super-resolution microscopy at speed: Optimized DNA sequences allow for 10-times faster image acquisition in DNA-PAINT October 11th, 2019

Battery Technology/Capacitors/Generators/Piezoelectrics/Thermoelectrics/Energy storage

Do you Kyoto? World-leading companies share their approaches to environmentally friendly business at NAUM’19 October 14th, 2019

New materials to help stop lithium-ion battery fires, explosions and improve battery performance October 2nd, 2019

Borophene on silver grows freely into an atomic ‘skin’: Rice scientists lead effort to improve manufacture of valuable 2D material October 1st, 2019

Turning heat into electricity: A new thermoelectric material developed at FEFU: Young scientists from FEFU manufactured new thermoelectric material based on strontium titanate and titanium oxide September 27th, 2019

Fuel Cells

Activity of fuel cell catalysts doubled: Modelling leads to the optimum size for platinum fuel cell catalysts July 5th, 2019

Artificial photosynthesis transforms carbon dioxide into liquefiable fuels May 22nd, 2019

Current generation via quantum proton transfer February 1st, 2019

Researchers use jiggly Jell-O to make powerful new hydrogen fuel catalyst: The inexpensive new material can split water just as efficiently as costly platinum December 14th, 2018

Solar/Photovoltaic

How perovskite in solar cells recrystallizes and why modified carbon nanotubes can help overcome the reproducibility problem by making use of this October 18th, 2019

Water + air + electricity = hydrogen peroxide: Rice University breakthrough produces valuable chemical on demand at point of use October 10th, 2019

Nano bulb lights novel path: Rice University engineers create tunable, nanoscale, incandescent light source September 20th, 2019

Future of portable electronics -- Novel organic semiconductor with exciting properties: Researchers synthesize a new substance that can potentially be adapted to form a semiconductor with wide applications in electronics September 13th, 2019

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



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project