Sydney: Scientists are now tapping solar energy to produce chemicals which could be stored to create electricity and fuels.
The new technology mimics photosynthesis, the process used by plants, by combining sunlight and water in such a way that promises storable fuels. The process uses man-made materials.
The “solar to chemical energy conversion” process is outlined by Yasuhiro Tachibana, associate professor at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, the journal Nature Photonics reported.
It remains a challenge to construct a device capable of producing molecular fuels like hydrogen at a scale and cost able to compete with fossil fuels, said Tachibana, according to a Royal Melbourne statement.
The key to improving efficiency will be in the development of new “nano-materials,” along with efficient control of charge transfer reaction processes.
Recent developments in the field of nanotechnology have been leading to promising improvements in cost and effectiveness of the conversion process, Tachibana said.
“Our future scientific goal is to establish a solar water splitting system operated only by abundant sunlight and sea water. Fortunately these resources are freely available on this blue planet,” Tachibana said.