Recently, a research team led by Tom Meyer, professor of chemistry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, discovered a way to "store" solar energy - using solar energy to break down the water molecules in the air into oxygen and hydrogen atoms during the day. Then it will store the decomposed hydrogen atoms in the equipment and wait until it becomes a new energy source in the evening.
Prof. Meyer said, â€œSolar arrays can only generate electricity during the day, but in fact it can also produce some chemicals. So when the sun goes down, people can use these chemicals to generate the needed energy.â€
It is reported that Meyer's core design is a chromophore catalyst array that absorbs solar energy during the day and then decomposes water molecules through the catalyst. The titanium nanoparticles on which these catalyst arrays are mounted are coated with titanium dioxide, which can accelerate the movement of atoms. In addition, there is a special protective film on the sheet, which can effectively trap the particles.
Meyer said that they hope to find ways to convert carbon dioxide into formic acid or methanol fuel in the future.
Now, the energy efficiency of the Meyer team's system is still only about 1%, but Meyer believes that they can eventually increase this value to 15%.
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