• 3 minutes e-car sales collapse
  • 6 minutes America Is Exceptional in Its Political Divide
  • 11 minutes Perovskites, a ‘dirt cheap’ alternative to silicon, just got a lot more efficient
  • 6 days Does Toyota Know Something That We Don’t?
  • 8 hours America should go after China but it should be done in a wise way.
  • 6 days World could get rid of Putin and Russia but nobody is bold enough
  • 8 days China is using Chinese Names of Cities on their Border with Russia.
  • 9 days Russian Officials Voice Concerns About Chinese-Funded Rail Line
  • 9 days OPINION: Putin’s Genocidal Myth A scholarly treatise on the thousands of years of Ukrainian history. RCW
  • 9 days CHINA Economy IMPLODING - Fastest Price Fall in 14 Years & Stock Market Crashes to 5 Year Low
  • 8 days CHINA Economy Disaster - Employee Shortages, Retirement Age, Birth Rate & Ageing Population
  • 9 days Putin and Xi Bet on the Global South
  • 9 days "(Another) Putin Critic 'Falls' Out Of Window, Dies"
  • 10 days United States LNG Exports Reach Third Place
  • 10 days Biden's $2 trillion Plan for Insfrastructure and Jobs
A Signal of Strong Short Term Demand in Oil Markets

A Signal of Strong Short Term Demand in Oil Markets

A significant development this week…

Green Chemistry Breakthrough: Researchers Create Ethylene from CO2

Green Chemistry Breakthrough: Researchers Create Ethylene from CO2

University of Cincinnati engineers have…

Brian Westenhaus

Brian Westenhaus

Brian is the editor of the popular energy technology site New Energy and Fuel. The site’s mission is to inform, stimulate, amuse and abuse the…

More Info

Premium Content

New Supercrystals Set World Record for Solar Hydrogen Production

  • LMU München researchers have developed a new material that set a world record in solar hydrogen production.
  • The breakthrough involves plasmonic nanostructures capturing sunlight to generate hydrogen from formic acid.
  • Challenges include the use of expensive raw materials, prompting the search for cost-effective alternatives for economic viability.

Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München researchers have developed new high-performance nanostructures, a material that holds a new world record for green hydrogen production with sunlight.

When Emiliano Cortés goes hunting for sunlight, he doesn’t use gigantic mirrors or solar farms. Quite the contrary, the professor of experimental physics and energy conversion at LMU dives into the nanocosmos.

“Where the high-energy particles of sunlight meet atomic structures is where our research begins,” Cortés said.

“We are working on material solutions to use solar energy more efficiently.” His findings have great potential as they enable novel solar cells and photocatalysts.

But there is one major challenge, Cortés suggested, “Sunlight arrives on Earth ‘diluted,’ so the energy per area is comparatively low.”

Solar panels compensate for this by covering large areas. Cortés, however, is approaching the problem from the other direction, so to speak: With his team at LMU’s Nano-Institute, which is funded by the e-conversion cluster of excellence, Solar Technologies go Hybrid (an initiative of the Bayerisches Staatsministerium für Wissenschaft und Kunst) and the European Research Council, he is developing plasmonic nanostructures that can be used to concentrate solar energy.

In a publication in the journal Nature Catalysis, Cortés, together with Dr. Matías Herran and cooperation partners from the Free University of Berlin and the University of Hamburg, present a two-dimensional supercrystal that generates hydrogen from formic acid with the help of sunlight.

“The material is so outstanding, in fact, that it holds the world record for producing hydrogen using sunlight,” Cortés pointed out.

Nano hotspots unleash catalytic power

 For their supercrystal, Cortés and Herrán use two metals in nanoscale format.

“We first create particles in the range of 10-200 nanometers from a plasmonic metal – which in our case is gold,” Herrán explained.

“At this scale, visible light interacts very strongly with the electrons of gold, causing them to oscillate resonantly.” This allows the nanoparticles to capture more sunlight and convert it into very high-energy electrons.

“Highly localized and strong electric fields occur, the hotspots,” said Herrán. These form between the gold particles, which gave Cortés and Herrán the idea of placing platinum nanoparticles right in the interspaces.

An impetus for greener hydrogen production

Today, hydrogen is primarily produced from fossil fuels, predominantly from natural gas. “By combining plasmonic and catalytic metals, we are advancing the development of potent photocatalysts for industrial applications, such as the conversion of CO2 into usable substances,” Cortés and Herrán explained. The two researchers have already patented their material development.



At posting the study paper is not behind a paywall. It's very encouraging research and the results look quite good indeed.

The bug in this is the materials, two of the most expensive raw materials on the market, are involved as primary build materials. For now water splitting is held up primarily by the cost of electricity. This tech would solve that. But the crystals would have to last perhaps essentially an eternity to someday find a payback.

But it does work and there is every reason to find other build materials far less expensive and see if the economics can be made to work.

By Brian Westenhaus via Newenergyandfuel.com

More Top Reads From Oilprice.com:

Download The Free Oilprice App Today

Back to homepage

Leave a comment

Leave a comment

EXXON Mobil -0.35
Open57.81 Trading Vol.6.96M Previous Vol.241.7B
BUY 57.15
Sell 57.00
Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News