COMSCI Donna Nelson  Monday, August 23, 2010 

2 - Inexpensive solar electrolyzer for the poor of the non-legacy world

Professor Daniel G Nocera Department of Chemistry, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, United States

The most sustainable source for solar energy storage is water splitting driven by sunlight in much the same way that photosynthesis stores solar energy. We have developed an earth-abundant Co and Ni oxygen-evolving catalysts (OEC) that can use an energy input from a photoanode or photovoltaic to split water into oxygen and leave four protons and four electrons, which can be used to directly produce hydrogen or used for the reduction of carbon dioxide to furnish liquid fuels. The OEC water-splitting catalyst operates out of a glass of water. Accordingly, this discovery enabled the creation of new hydrogen producing catalysts from earth-abundant metals. The new hydrogen catalysts operate at 1000 mA/cm2 at 35 mV overpotential, and far outperform Pt in water/electrolyte solutions. Together, these discoveries of anode and cathode water splitting catalysts have allowed us to build electrolyzers at a cost of $30 operating at 100 W. Moroeover, owing to the self healing properties of the catalysts, these electrolyzers can use any water source (seawater, water from the Charles River and other natural waters, and waste waters). When connected to a cheap photovoltaic cell, a very inexpensive solar energy collection/storage system for the poor is realized.

Monday, August 23, 2010 01:50 PM
AES Science and Technology (01:00 PM - 04:20 PM)
Location: Boston Convention & Exposition Center
Room: Room 211


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