Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IIT-M) have discovered a new material to effectively split water into hydrogen and oxygen using solar power.
Chennai: This research was expected to create a renewed interest in solar fuels domain, which could potentially bring the conversion and storage part in a single system, thereby reducing the cost per kWh of solar energy, a release from IIT-M said today. A material to be employed in solar fuel generation should be good photovoltaic material and at the same time remain stable in a water medium. The material discovered by IIT-M researchers satisfies both the criteria.
Apart from an exciting application perspective, the researchers were seeking to understand the fundamental properties to unravel the material’s electrochemistry in finer details, which was essential for the design of solar fuel devices.
IIT-M’s Solar Energy Research Group (SERG) led by Dr Aravind Kumar Chandiran, Assistant Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, is specializing in the development of materials and devices architectures for solar cells, solar water splitting to hydrogen fuels, carbon dioxide recycling and metal-air batteries for electric vehicles.
This research paper has been published in the reputed peer-reviewed chemistry journal Angewandte Chemie International Edition. It was co-authored by Dr Aravind Kumar Chandiran and SERG research scholar Mr Muhammed Hamdan. Dr Aravind Kumar Chandiran said storing solar energy in batteries was an expensive business for large scale implementation.
A single photoelectrochemical (PEC) system that could harness and store solar energy in the form of chemical fuels could potentially reduce the cost per kWh of energy.
Ideally, seawater splitting using PEC to generate clean hydrogen should be serious research, if India should remain committed to green energy and avoid potential consequences of continued carbon emission.