Stanford Students Create Solar Powered Water Splitter
Electrolysis is a chemical process which even a high schoolstudent is familiar with. This process, so well known and seemingly easy to implement can be a high potential source of clean energy in thefuture. When two electrodes submerged in water receive voltage throughtheir length, the water molecules get split to get the byproducts ofoxygen and hydrogen.
This hydrogen fuel can be stored and then reunited with oxygenmolecules to form electricity. But as simple as it sounds, technical and chemical difficulties have barricaded the universal use of thistechnology leading to the non-utilization of an extremely future-soundmethod of producing energy. However brilliant minds at McIntyre andChidsey have overpowered one of those major blockades which waselectrode corrosion which led to a hostile environment for watersplitting.
These electrodes are generally made of silicon (silicon actuallyaids production of electrons) which erodes easily in water, to overcomethis scientists have developed a protective layer of titaniumdioxide-about a two nanometers thick which provides extreme durabilityfor the silicon electrodes during the water splitting process. Anotherbrainstorm by the workers at McIntyre and Chidsey is adding a layer ofultra thin iridium which acts as a catalyst to the entire process.
Thus with this glitch taken care of, this new set up uses solarenergy during the day to split water molecules into oxygen and storablehydrogen fuel and then when darkness befalls, the hydrogen and oxygenagain come together to create electricity. Thus a clean,free of hassletechnology helps in solving to a great extent one of the greatestchallenges facing mankind today.
Scarcity of natural resources and increased encouragement to userenewable resources of energy gather the maximum momentum with thisidea. Take a bow to Yi Wei Chen and Jonathan Prange, the lead doctoralstudents on the McIntyre-Chidsey team for their miraculous solution to a long-time hanging problem.
Thus we can say that advancement in science not only creates dilemmas but inspite of actually bringing about progressive growth, also devices solutions to eliminate the problems created by them. Kudos to thisStanford team for coming out clean and making the world come clean andgreen too.
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