From: Kobe University
Published May 18, 2017 01:47 PM

Photocatalyst makes hydrogen production 10 times more efficient

Hydrogen is an alternative source of energy that can be produced from renewable sources of sunlight and water. A group of Japanese researchers has developed a photocatalyst that increases hydrogen production tenfold.

The discovery was made by a joint research team led by Associate Professor TACHIKAWA Takashi (Molecular Photoscience Research Center, Kobe University) and Professor MAJIMA Tetsuro (Institute of Scientific and Industrial Research, Osaka University). Their findings were published on April 6 in the online version of Angewandte Chemie International Edition.

When light is applied to photocatalysts, electrons and holes are produced on the surface of the catalyst, and hydrogen is obtained when these electrons reduce the hydrogen ions in water. However, in traditional photocatalysts the holes that are produced at the same time as the electrons mostly recombine on the surface of the catalyst and disappear, making it difficult to increase conversion efficiency.

Professor Tachikawa’s research group developed a photocatalyst made of mesocrystal, deliberately creating a lack of uniformity in size and arrangement of the crystals. This new photocatalyst is able to spatially separate the electrons and electron holes to prevent them recombining. As a result, it has a far more efficient conversion rate for producing hydrogen than conventional nanoparticulate photocatalysts (approximately 7%).

Read more at Kobe University

Image: (a)This is a light emission from SrTiO3 mesocrystals obtained in a 24-hour hydrothermal reaction. A weak light is seen equally throughout apart from the crystal edges. (b)This is a light emission from SrTiO3 mesocrystals obtained in a 48-hour hydrothermal reaction. They shine strongly due to the electrons gathered around the large crystals on the surface. The light emitted has a wavelength of 405nm. (Credit: Kobe University)

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