Silicon-based solar panels are four times as efficient as plants at harvesting energy from sunlight. But they’re expensive to produce because the material they’re made of has to be very precisely engineered. What if we could make solar panels out of layered copper oxides (CuO/Cu2O)? These materials are cheap to produce, Earth abundant and fully recyclable.
So if existing materials like haematite aren’t good enough to be used to generate solar fuels, how do researchers go about identifying novel materials to convert sunlight into fuel? We’ll see how computers can help identify ideal materials for the production of solar fuels. What are the key steps to do in research lab to build a tangible device that can be used to produce a solar fuel?
Solar energy can be used to convert CO2 and methane, potent greenhouse gases, into high-value products for the production of fertilizers, plastics or even pharmaceuticals. In this post we find out about the materials needed catalyse this conversion.
Turning sunlight into a liquid fuel might sound like the fantasy machinations of a sci-fi novel. A fuel that is abundant, sustainable, storable, and a portable source of energy? The reality is possibly even more exciting. Solar fuels could use energy in sunlight to convert CO2 and methane, potent greenhouse gases, into high-value products, such as fertilizers, plastics or pharmaceuticals.