Low-cost technology to produce clean hydrogen fuel

New York; In a thrust to “artificial leaf” technology, a team of scientists have reported a significant progress toward a stand-alone system that lends itself to large-scale, low-cost production.

The “artificial leaf” technology is a green approach to make hydrogen fuel that copies plants' ability to convert sunlight into a form of energy they can use.

“Harnessing sunlight to split water and harvest hydrogen is one of the most intriguing ways to achieve clean energy,” said Peidong Yang, a professor from University of California, Berkeley.

Yang with co-author Bin Liumade a flat mesh out of light-absorbing semiconductor nanowires that, when immersed in water and exposed to sunlight, produces hydrogen gas.

The technique could allow their technology to be scaled up at low cost.

“The approach - unlike other artificial leaf systems - is free-standing and does not require any additional wires or other external devices that would add to the environmental footprint,” Yang noted.

Automakers have started introducing hydrogen fuel cell vehicles which only emit water when driven.

“Producing hydrogen at low cost from water using the clean energy from the sun would make this form of energy, which could also power homes and businesses, far more environmentally friendly,” the authors said.

The paper appeared in the journal ACS Nano.

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