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Solar Paint Produces Hydrogen Fuel

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Researchers at RMIT have developed a solar paint that can absorb water vapour and split it to generate hydrogen – the cleanest source of energy.

The paint contains a newly developed compound that acts like the silica gel found in sachets that absorb moisture to keep food, medicines and electronics fresh and dry.

But unlike silica gel, synthetic molybdenum-sulphide also acts as a semiconductor and catalyses the splitting of water atoms into hydrogen and oxygen.

“We found that mixing the compound with titanium oxide particles leads to a sunlight-absorbing paint that produces hydrogen fuel from solar energy and moist air, said lead researcher Dr Torben Daeneke. “Titanium oxide is the white pigment that is already commonly used in wall paint, meaning that the simple addition of the new material can convert a brick wall into energy-harvesting and fuel production real estate.

“Our new development has a big range of advantages,” he continued. “There’s no need for clean or filtered water to feed the system. Any place that has water vapour in the air, even remote areas far from water, can produce fuel.”

Prof Kourosh Kalantar-zadeh said hydrogen was the cleanest source of energy and could be used in fuel cells as well as conventional combustion engines as an alternative to fossil fuels. “This system can also be used in very dry but hot climates...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.