12/04/2013, by

A cell for the generation of solar fuel

A team formed by several research groups at the Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia (ICIQ), in Tarragona, works on the development of a cell capable of obtaining hydrogen from water to generate energy, inspired by the photosynthetic process that takes place in green plants.

Tarragona, 12th April 2013 This project, lead by Antoni Llobet (ICIQ), focuses on the design of a photoelectrochemical cell able to transform solar energy into electricity throughout the decomposition of water into oxygen and hydrogen.

This cell is a bio-inspired model of the photosynthetic process that take place in green plants, and it is comprised by a device that contains light harvesting molecules deposited on the surface of a semiconductor material, a catalysts or substance able to accelerate the water decomposition reaction into oxygen and hydrogen and a cathode or electrode where hydrogen is produced.

The hydrogen produced in this cell could be immediately used to generate heat or electricity in a clean and sustainable process.

Figure 1Cell for the decomposition of water into hydrogen and oxygen

The team has already optimise each of the individual processes required for the decomposition of water. Now, the challenge is to make them work harmoniously within the cell to obtain electricity from solar energy  throughout this sustainable and economically viable process.

This project has been funded by Generalitat de Catalunya and  Obra Social ‘La Caixa’

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