Researchers at curtin university in western Australia have developed a low-cost, environmentally friendly way to capture solar energy and clean fuels like hydrogen.
Researchers at curtin university have made breakthroughs in producing clean fuels such as solar power to better transition to a low-carbon economy.
In a paper published today in Advanced Materials, researchers describe new ways of using tiny nanocrystals as efficient catalysts to produce low-cost, low-emission hydrogen and other clean fuels.Previously, solar energy was made with clean fuels made from cadmium containing semiconductors, plus expensive rare metals, including platinum, iridium and ruthenium.However, the high toxicity of cadmium and the cost of precious metals have prevented its widespread use.
" our research has created tiny crystals that do not contain any precious and toxic metals and can be used directly as environmentally friendly catalysts to convert solar energy into hydrogen," said Dr Guo huajia, principal researcher at the institute of functional molecules and interfaces at the curtin school of molecular and life sciences and the university of curtin.
Curtin's researchers say the new approach, which has environmental and economic benefits, will attract industry participation in the production of low-cost and low-emission clean hydrogen fuels, a pressure decarbonization economy and options for countries around the world to rapidly expand into, such as hydrogen-powered vehicles and industrial processes.
"The energy industry may be very interested in these nanomaterials because they are cheap and elemental and provide a cleaner, cheaper source of fuel for the industry," Dr Jia said.
In fact, the breakthrough comes at a time when a growing number of countries are pursuing research and development projects in this area, and when Australia has abundant renewable energy resources, low-emission hydrogen is increasingly seen as an important export opportunity for Australia.