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Breakthrough in hydrogen production

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posted on Aug, 30 2011 @ 05:19 PM
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Using state-of-the-art theoretical computations, scientists from the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville has determined that an alloy formed by a 2 percent substitution of antimony in gallium nitride has the right electrical properties to enable solar light energy to split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen. The alloy functions as a catalyst in the photoelectrochemical electrolysis of water. When the alloy is immersed in water and exposed to sunlight, the chemical bond between the hydrogen and oxygen molecules in water is broken. The hydrogen can then be collected.
Hydrogen production now involves a large amount of CO2 emissions, because pure hydrogen gas is not found in free abundance on Earth, it must be manufactured by unlocking it from other sources.
Hydrogen has long been looked at as a likely key in the transition to cleaner energy sources. It can be used in fuel cells to generate electricity, burned to produce heat, and used in combustion engines to power vehicles.
This could have profound implications for the future of solar energy.
A real game changer here folks, look out big oil hydrogen is moving in!!!
Source

"Previous research on PEC has focused on complex materials," Menon said. "We decided to go against the conventional wisdom and start with some easy-to-produce materials, even if they lacked the right arrangement of electrons to meet PEC criteria. Our goal was to see if a minimal 'tweaking' of the electronic arrangement in these materials would accomplish the desired results." Gallium nitride is a semiconductor that has been in widespread use to make bright-light LEDs since the 1990s. Antimony is a metalloid element that has been in increased demand in recent years for applications in microelectronics. The GaN-Sb alloy is the first simple, easy-to-produce material to be considered a candidate for PEC water splitting. The alloy functions as a catalyst in the PEC reaction, meaning that it is not consumed and may be reused indefinitely. UofL and UK researchers are currently working toward producing the alloy and testing its ability to convert solar energy to hydrogen.

Novel alloy could produce hydrogen fuel from sunlight
Source
edit on 30-8-2011 by flyingfish because: (no reason given)




posted on Aug, 30 2011 @ 05:27 PM
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reply to post by flyingfish
 


Incredible discovery!

Finally electrolysis made cheap and simple!

S n F thanks for the find!



posted on Aug, 30 2011 @ 05:36 PM
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Amazing !

Is it possible to fire a laser beam on this alloy to produce power day or night ?



posted on Aug, 30 2011 @ 05:42 PM
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Sounds good but...
They haven't actually done it yet.

The alloy functions as a catalyst in the PEC reaction, meaning that it is not consumed and may be reused indefinitely. UofL and UK researchers are currently working toward producing the alloy and testing its ability to convert solar energy to hydrogen.

www.eurekalert.org...



posted on Aug, 30 2011 @ 05:50 PM
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reply to post by Phage
 


Your right still based on theoretical computations, but The GaN-Sb alloy is the first simple, easy-to-produce material to be considered a candidate for water splitting. University of Louisville and University of Kentucky researchers are currently working toward producing the alloy and testing its ability to convert solar energy to hydrogen.
The way I see it, it's just of matter of time and money.



posted on Aug, 30 2011 @ 05:57 PM
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reply to post by flyingfish
 


Thanks so much for posting the article. This is one of the reasons I love ATS...great find!

Apparently this alloy can be used and reused indefinitely! So all you need is water, this alloy [(2% of antimony (Sb) in gallium nitride (GaN)] as a catalyst, sunlight and bingo hydrogen. Unlimited, clean, virtually free energy!

Micro power generation with fuel cells available for every home, hut and cave



posted on Aug, 30 2011 @ 05:59 PM
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reply to post by flyingfish
 


I am awaiting the efficiency figures before jumping for joy but this sounds really promising!



posted on Aug, 30 2011 @ 06:01 PM
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reply to post by Leo Strauss
 


I have been waiting to hear about this type technology for a long time. This is good news for the entire planet.
Start looking into stock!!!



posted on Aug, 30 2011 @ 06:16 PM
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reply to post by xXeiSs
 




Is it possible to fire a laser beam on this alloy to produce power day or night ?

Uhm..stepping on a dollar to save a dime. I think you could use existing solar powered battery setups to store the collected energy.. Just the solar cells would change.
edit on 30-8-2011 by flyingfish because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 30 2011 @ 06:32 PM
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Originally posted by xXeiSs
Amazing !

Is it possible to fire a laser beam on this alloy to produce power day or night ?


It doesn't produce power - it produces (or hopefully will produce) hydrogen.

And since ther's no such thing as free energy, using the hydrogen to create the power to fire the laser beam is going to generate less than 100% efficiency, so you are going ot have a net loss.

Better to just store the hydrogen and use it (fuel cells or burning) to generate the power you want at night.



posted on Aug, 30 2011 @ 06:50 PM
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According to the abstract from the paper, producing free hydrogen from this is still only a possibility. Promising but not the Holy Grail yet.



Our calculations reveal that a relatively small concentration of Sb impurities is sufficient to achieve a significant narrowing of the band gap, enabling absorption of visible light. Theoretical results predict that Ga(Sbx)N1−x alloys with 2-eV band gaps straddle the potential window at moderate to low pH values, thus indicating that dilute Ga(Sbx)N1−x alloys could be potential candidates for splitting water under visible light irradiation.
Source: prb.aps.org...



posted on Aug, 30 2011 @ 06:55 PM
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Originally posted by Pimander
According to the abstract from the paper, producing free hydrogen from this is still only a possibility. Promising but not the Holy Grail yet.



Our calculations reveal that a relatively small concentration of Sb impurities is sufficient to achieve a significant narrowing of the band gap, enabling absorption of visible light. Theoretical results predict that Ga(Sbx)N1−x alloys with 2-eV band gaps straddle the potential window at moderate to low pH values, thus indicating that dilute Ga(Sbx)N1−x alloys could be potential candidates for splitting water under visible light irradiation.
Source: prb.aps.org...

Nice link

thanks...



posted on Aug, 30 2011 @ 07:06 PM
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reply to post by flyingfish
 


Interesting Find....

Is our problem in this world, the excessive emission's of undesirable gasses?

Or is it the Amount of Energy we are releasing into the environment?

My point being; If we find a way to collect Hydrogen from say water, in a more practical and economic way, will this increase our problems, in that it will be increasing the Energy released on Earth ?

Perhaps we should turn away from producing Energy, and look for other ways of achieving other methods of Transport, Lighting, and other electric appliances etc.

Electricity, and energy based Technologies may NOT be the only way.

Perhaps there is another way ???



posted on Aug, 30 2011 @ 07:10 PM
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Originally posted by Aloysius the Gaul

Originally posted by xXeiSs
Amazing !

Is it possible to fire a laser beam on this alloy to produce power day or night ?


It doesn't produce power - it produces (or hopefully will produce) hydrogen.

And since ther's no such thing as free energy, using the hydrogen to create the power to fire the laser beam is going to generate less than 100% efficiency, so you are going ot have a net loss.

Better to just store the hydrogen and use it (fuel cells or burning) to generate the power you want at night.


Hydrogen fuel cells are the future..The problem has been the costs associated with the hydrogen production and storage. Now both problems are seeing light.
Here is a short video on fuel cells.



posted on Aug, 30 2011 @ 09:02 PM
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As Phage and others have pointed out, this is just a theory. There are ab initio models [VASP, Gaussian] that will do this and it is indeed possible to find materials that would work. The trick is making them.

While this may work it might also be less efficient than existing materials [quantum dots come to mind] and when water is photolyzed it produces a stoichiometric mixture of oxygen and hydrogen. The activation energy for the reverse reaction makes this a dangerous mixture to process as something as small as streaming potentials are capable of reversing the reaction with a bang. As always, photolytic processes have a place somewhere. We just don't know where or at what scale.



posted on Aug, 30 2011 @ 09:18 PM
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reply to post by pteridine
 


Thanks for comment pteridine.
You sound knowledgeable in this field, are you a chemicle engineer? As for being less efficient in what application are referring to?
Seems to me if your using this alloy and solar power to split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen, would this not be an almost instant process?
Is it the collection that would be slow or dangerous?
Thanks in advance.



posted on Aug, 30 2011 @ 10:29 PM
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Originally posted by flyingfish
reply to post by pteridine
 


Thanks for comment pteridine.
You sound knowledgeable in this field, are you a chemicle engineer? As for being less efficient in what application are referring to?
Seems to me if your using this alloy and solar power to split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen, would this not be an almost instant process?
Is it the collection that would be slow or dangerous?
Thanks in advance.


The efficiency depends on many things. Sunlight photons have different energies [you see this as color] and the best possible photolysis unit would work with a wide spectrum of energies and each photon would start a reaction. In reality, this is not the case. Each material has different properties and some photons do not have enough energy to start a reaction. Some get converted into heat or reflected and their energies are lost. Sometimes the reaction occurs and immediately reverses on a single molecule scale [no bang], forming water and heat. The rate of reaction [speed that hydrogen and oxygen are being made] depends on many of these factors. If 100 photons strike the photocatalyst and only 1 reacts, hydrogen will be formed slower than if 10 reacted.
The dangerous part comes when trying to separate the hydrogen and oxygen. They cannot be stored or transported as a mixture because virtually any static spark or certain metals would cause immediate reaction back to water with the release of all the energy that was used to make the hydrogen. That would be the bang part.
Hydrogen is an energy storage medium. Making it with electricity from non-fossil sources [including nuclear, geothermal, wind, or solar] allows you to store it and use it when you want. You can also make hydrogen in one cell and oxygen in another, solving the separation problems of photolysis. If you use electricity from wind or solar electricity [a less problematic route to H2 than photolysis] you can store the hydrogen and use it when you want such as when the sun isn't shining or the air is still. If you want to, you can use the hydrogen you make and CO2 from the air to make methanol [wood alcohol] which can be converted to gasoline. This way, you can use the carbon as a hydrogen carrier and continuously cycle the carbon from the fuel to the air and back to the fuel with no net increase in CO2 but without having to deal with gaseous hydrogen. This way you can use hydrogen without changing the infrastructure for delivery, distribution, and use, saving trillions and allowing continues use of IC engines.



posted on Aug, 31 2011 @ 12:29 AM
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reply to post by pteridine
 


With the photolysis set, would it be possible to coerce the separated oxygen and hydrogen to migrate through the water towards an electrical terminal and thereby be separate enough to be collected safely?

I do realise that this applied charge would somewhat negate efficiency of the process but if the initial process were efficient enough, then a little wasted energy would not be a real problem.



posted on Aug, 31 2011 @ 12:53 AM
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off-topic post removed to prevent thread-drift


 



posted on Aug, 31 2011 @ 04:07 AM
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This is excellent news. Hopefully whoever turns this into a working product isn't bought out by the oil companies. News like this tends to disappear in short order. I remember reading back around 2004 or 2005 about laptop batteries that would charge in 15 minutes and run continuously for a month. About the closest thing I've seen to that is the iPad, which is essentially a tiny circuit board attached to a giant battery. And even then it doesn't come close taking a couple hours to charge and lasting 11 hours. What gives? Over-optimistic scientists and researchers putting out half-baked reports or conspiracy? Probably the former. Scientists love thinking they have all the answers when in reality they only know a tiny fraction of the knowledge available in the universe. But I give them props for trying. Somebody has to. I just wish they were a little less arrogant and temper some of these reports so that I don't get my hopes up.

...I'm not bitter.



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