A team of Australian researchers managed to create a so-called solar paint which can pull water molecules from the air. Then, it can split them into hydrogen and oxygen, which can then also be stored.
Technology Behind the Solar Paint
The research team, part of the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, released a statement on the matter. In it, the scientists explained that their creation relies on a new material, titled synthetic molybdenum-sulphide. This compound is capable of acting such as silica gel. Namely, it can absorb the moisture from its surroundings.
However, it also serves as a catalyst when combined with the energy derived from the sun. This can then trigger a chain of chemical reactions. Their primary target will be to separate water molecules into oxygen and hydrogen molecules.
“We found that mixing the compound with titanium oxide particles leads to a sunlight-absorbing paint that produces hydrogen fuel from solar energy and moist air,” said Toben Daeneke, the lead researcher.
Daeneke went to point out that titanium oxide, a white pigment, is already commonly used in wall paint compositions. Based on this, the team concluded that, by simply adding a new material, a standard brick wall could come to have new properties.
It could start harvesting energy and producing fuel, possibly supplying some of the local power need. Also, the team points out that this technology eliminates the need for clean, filtered water. This solar paint should be capable of producing hydrogen fuel in any location in which it can extract water vapors from ‘thin air’.
Scientists are already hard at work in trying to develop more efficient and also cheaper methods of producing hydrogen fuel. They are doing so as hydrogen gas is considered a very promising clean alternative to currently used fossil fuel.
According to scientists, this solar paint can be utilized even in arid and hot areas near oceans. As sea water gets evaporated by the sun, the vapor it leaves behind can be absorbed by the special paint.
Study results and further details on this new paint are available in the journal ACS Nano.
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