Researchers found a way to convert solar into fuel
The Frontier Research Center at UNC-Chapel Hill discovered a way to transform solar into fuel, so that people could have power even when the sun sets.
People could be truly independent with the help of this system and could say goodbye to the pricey solar batteries. U.S solar power researchers say the sun can be used to separate water into hydrogen and oxygen. The Research Center recently published two papers about this whole process, papers published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Tom Meyer, a chemistry Professor, explains that the system uses solar power until daylight exist, and meanwhile it cheaply separates hydrogen and oxygen from water. The two elements can then be stored separately and burned for power.
Meyer reports that power utilities have already got infrastructure for that: “See, that’s the beauty of it, I think. With this, you can plug into existing engineering, existing technologies. People know how to generate hydrogen. They know how store it. They know how to use it to extract energy in a power plant. So that’s all done. You know, all we want to do is find a way to give it to them in a relatively inexpensive way using the sun.”
Meyer also believes that this method can be used for cheaper power utilities someday:
“This is a basic research project that’s knocking on the door to become a technology. I think the principles are established and it’s really important, but the efficiency of the devices that we have are very low. That is, ‘Here’s all the sun’s energy. How much do you actually use in a useful way?’ And the answer’s about one percent.”
What Mayer says is that right now, only one percent of the solar power that gets to the device is being used to transform water into fuel. He also believes that the procedure won’t be effective for commercial use until that one percent turns into 10. His team also research for a way of separating carbon dioxide into its basic elements for fuel.
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