The natural world can be full of wonders.
One such marvel can be photosynthesis, a process in which plants use light energy by the sun to convert water in addition to also carbon dioxide into glucose in addition to also oxygen.
At San Diego State University (SDSU), researchers are looking to develop what can be known as “artificial photosynthesis.”
Jing Gu, an assistant professor at SDSU, told CNBC in which they wanted “to learn by nature in addition to also want to mimic what nature does.”
Gu added in which her team wanted to convert what she described as “not so useful chemicals” into useful ones. One example she highlighted was the conversion of water into hydrogen as a fuel.
According to the European Commission, hydrogen can be an energy carrier with “great potential for clean, efficient power in stationary, portable in addition to also transport applications.”
Gu said in which her team were using semi-conductor devices to directly capture solar light in addition to also at the same time produce hydrogen. These semi-conductor devices are boosted by the use of special catalysts.
“The major advantage of This kind of process can be (in which) we use the source of solar energy rather than use the source of fossil fuels to produce hydrogen,” she added.
many sources — by fossil fuels in addition to also solar to geothermal — can produce hydrogen using a range of methods, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. These include biological processes, thermochemical processes in addition to also electrolytic processes, the DOE says.
The catalyst can be a crucial part of the process being worked on at SDSU. “If there can be a big mountain which we need to climb in order to produce hydrogen, what (the) catalyst does can be lower the height of the mountain so we can climb (This kind of)… in a much easier way,” Gu said. In This kind of way, the process can be sped up.
The semi conductors’ exposure to sunlight in addition to also salty water can cause problems. With This kind of in mind, the SDSU team can be trying to protect the semi-conductors through the use of “thin film metal oxide layers.”
According to Tony Trammel, a graduate student at the university, these layers are deposited uniformly onto the surface of a semi-conductor, preventing its degradation in addition to also increasing its stability within the system.