Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Another Nanotech Solar Solution, From Penn State

Via, an interesting story about something called "titania nanotube arrays" which seem to be principally designed for splitting hydrogen from water using only sunlight:
“This is an amazing material architecture for water photolysis,” says Craig Grimes, professor of electrical engineering and materials science and engineering. Referring to some recent finds of his research group (G. K. Mor, K. Shankar, M. Paulose, O. K. Varghese, C. A. Grimes, Enhanced Photocleavage of Water Using Titania Nanotube-Arrays, Nano Letters, vol. 5, pp. 191-195.2005 ), “Basically we are talking about taking sunlight and putting water on top of this material, and the sunlight turns the water into hydrogen and oxygen. With the highly-ordered titanium nanotube arrays, under UV illumination you have a photoconversion efficiency of 13.1%. Which means, in a nutshell, you get a lot of hydrogen out of the system per photon you put in. If we could successfully shift its bandgap into the visible spectrum we would have a commercially practical means of generating hydrogen by solar energy. It beats fighting wars over middle-eastern oil.”