Solar-to-Hydrogen Hits Efficiency Record | AIChE

Solar-to-Hydrogen Hits Efficiency Record


A self-healing platform for producing hydrogen by water-splitting has reached a new efficiency record.

The method uses photocatalysis, which has the advantage of requiring no circuitry or harsh electrolytes, to split water into oxygen and hydrogen. This is a carbon-neutral way of producing hydrogen directly from the energy of the sun, but has long been stymied by low efficiencies, in part because previous methods could only harness a very narrow portion of the visible light spectrum as energy.

The new system, developed by a group led by Univ. of Michigan professor of electrical engineering and computer science Zetian Mi, uses nanowires of gallium nitride grown on a silicon surface as a semiconductor. Unlike other semiconductors, the gallium nitride nanowire system developed by Mi and his team actually becomes more stable with use instead of degrading.

“During this chemical reaction, the surface is partially oxidized to turn the surface to gallium oxynitride,” Mi says. “Gallium oxynitride is a very stable material and also catalytically active, and so once...

Would you like to access the complete CEP News Update?

No problem. You just have to complete the following steps.

You have completed 0 of 2 steps.

  1. Log in

    You must be logged in to view this content. Log in now.

  2. AIChE Membership

    You must be an AIChE member to view this article. Join now.

Copyright Permissions 

Would you like to reuse content from CEP Magazine? It’s easy to request permission to reuse content. Simply click here to connect instantly to licensing services, where you can choose from a list of options regarding how you would like to reuse the desired content and complete the transaction.