Scientists Turn Solar Power into Hydrogen Fuel Using Perovskite, Cheap Catalystsconcertina226 (2447056) writes "A group of Swiss scientists have succeeded in creating a device that can convert solar energy into hydrogen fuel at a much lower cost than ever before and which could help to harness solar power and solve the global energy crisis.
Researchers from the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), a Swiss federal institute of technology, split water that had been exposed to sunlight into separate hydrogen and oxygen cells using a solar cell device made from perovskite and a low-cost catalyst made from nickel and iron.
In order to produce electrical energy from water, the process requires both a catalyst able to lower the activation energy barrier of splitting water so the reaction can occur and a solar cell — an electronic device converting the energy of light into electricity via the photovoltaic effect.
Solar cells are conventionally made from silicon but they are expensive to produce and require several cells to be used for each solar water splitting reaction, as silicon is not an extremely efficient absorber of light.
Although solar cells made from perovskite don't last for longer than a few hours, the cells were able to absorb 12.3% of the energy diffused by the sun and the researchers discovered using nickel and iron catalysts is key to improving the result from the reaction."
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