Researchers at Guwahati are creating cost-effective materials for solar-powered hydrogen generation from water.

Solar energy is often regarded as the most promising of today’s clean and renewable energy sources.

The innovative materials under development can divide water into hydrogen and oxygen using sunshine. “These materials are significantly less expensive than the ‘noble metals’ now utilized and may enable the development of cost-effective solar-powered hydrogen generators,” an IIT Guwahati spokeswoman stated.

While conventional “solar cells” convert light directly to electrical energy, another form of sunlight-powered energy conversion system known as “PhotoElectroChemical” (PEC) cells has gained attention in recent years due to its direct creation of fuels when electrical energy is combined. Solar energy is utilized to divide simple and safe substances like water into hydrogen and oxygen, with hydrogen serving as a high-energy fuel that may be stored and used as needed. As a result, these cells are regarded as the ‘Holy Grail’ of a carbon-free hydrogen economy.

This is the area of research for a team lead by Mohammad Qureshi from the department of chemistry at IIT Guwahati. The team just published its findings in the prominent peer-reviewed publication Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters of the American Chemical Society. Prof. Mohammad Qureshi and Suhaib Alam co-authored the study. The researchers produced non-noble metal catalysts that are as effective at splitting water in PEC cells as the more expensive metals.

Nedim Husomanovic

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