February 8, 2023

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A Light-powered Catalyst Could Be Key For Hydrogen Economy

A Light-powered Catalyst Could Be Key For Hydrogen Economy

“Rice University researchers have engineered a key light-activated nanomaterial for the hydrogen economy,” the University announced this week.

“Using only inexpensive raw materials, a team from Rice’s Laboratory for Nanophotonics, Syzygy Plasmonics Inc. and Princeton University’s Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment created a scalable catalyst that needs only the power of light to convert ammonia into clean-burning hydrogen fuel….”

The research follows government and industry investment to create infrastructure and markets for carbon-free liquid ammonia fuel that will not contribute to greenhouse warming. Liquid ammonia is easy to transport and packs a lot of energy, with one nitrogen and three hydrogen atoms per molecule. The new catalyst breaks those molecules into hydrogen gas, a clean-burning fuel, and nitrogen gas, the largest component of Earth’s atmosphere. And unlike traditional catalysts, it doesn’t require heat. Instead, it harvests energy from light, either sunlight or energy-stingy LEDs….

“This discovery paves the way for sustainable, low-cost hydrogen that could be produced locally rather than in massive centralized plants,” said Peter Nordlander, also a Rice co-author.

Thanks to long-time Slashdot reader fahrbot-bot for submitting the story (via Phys.org.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.