Scientists have long been investigating the idea of converting solar energy into hydrogen. Now researchers at the EPFL have come up with an inexpensive and different interpretation to store solar energy as hydrogen. The concept is not a new one; they invented a tandem cell that consists of a dye-sensitized solar cell coupled with an oxide-based semiconductor.
By using this technique, you can convert solar energy into hydrogen. The device is fully self-contained. We can use the energy either day or night unlike the “use it or lose it” set up of current solar panels.
The electrons will help break up water molecules and reorganize the pieces into oxygen and hydrogen. The iron oxide used by the team is a little more enhanced.
Nanostructured, enhanced with silicon oxide, is covered with a nanometer-thin layer of aluminum oxide and cobalt oxide. In the same liquid, two distinct layers, an oxide semiconductor, which performs the oxygen evolution reaction, and a dye-sensitized cell, which liberates the hydrogen, have the job of generating electrons when stimulated by light. The most expensive material in device is the glass plate.
The experiment is in the initial stages. And the efficiency is low so far – between 1.4 and 3.6 percent. They hope that they can increase the efficiency to 10 percent in just a few years. The device will cost only $80 per square meter.
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