How to use Boron Valence electrons to convert hydrogen to oxygen in solar cells
A new type of hydrogen-based solar cell has been demonstrated, with an efficient conversion of hydrogen to a fuel by the use of the electron and valence electron types.
A team of researchers from MIT and Stanford, led by graduate student Christopher Fong, have developed a solar cell that can convert hydrogen from the sun’s upper atmosphere to oxygen.
The results are published in Nature Photonics, a journal of the American Chemical Society.
“Boron is the most abundant element in the atmosphere,” said Fong.
The study is a collaboration between MIT and the University of Michigan, which has developed and implemented the device in its SunPower project.
The researchers used the new device to convert a 1.7-million-year-old sample of meteorite carbonate, which contains more than 2,500 atoms of carbon atoms, into a sample of oxygen-13.
The solar cells used in this study are also made of carbon, and have similar characteristics to the carbon dioxide solar cells found in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy (A.Q.E.A.E.)
Office’s Advanced Solar Cells project.
“We were looking for a device that would allow us to get an even greater energy conversion efficiency,” said lead author Daniel O. Zuk, a doctoral student in electrical engineering.
“When you have an electron and an valence, the energy of the hydrogen can be converted to a much larger energy than the carbon can.”
Zuk’s team used a technique called electron-dissociation electron transfer (EDT) to convert the 1.5-million year-old meteorite to a sample that has a higher percentage of carbon.
The team then applied an electron to convert that electron into an electron of the valence type, which is more stable and has the advantage of being easier to work with.
“The combination of these two types of electrons enables us to convert these large amounts of carbon into a usable chemical product,” said Zuk.
“Our results show that this is a good method for a solar-cell based on the electron-valence interface.”
In addition to being a great fit for an efficient solar cell, the research team said the method also opens up new possibilities for carbon-based fuels in the future.
“With a carbon-to-oxygen conversion, we can make fuels that are much more efficient than conventional fuels, like gasoline,” said O’Hara.
“There’s no question that this can be used for a number of different applications in the automotive industry, for example, making biodiesel or renewable biofuels.”
Fong said that the researchers are still experimenting with other potential applications.
“If we can convert these carbon-derived products to hydrogen, we might be able to make a lot more hydrogen fuel in the near future,” he said.
“But for now, the focus is on using this new solar-based device for the purpose of hydrogen conversion.”
For more information about this research, please visit the Nature Photonic website.
ZUK, D. A., & Zuk D. D. (2017).
Photochemistry of carbonaceous meteorites with carbon-dependent electron transfer: an electron-assisted conversion method for carbon to oxygen conversion.
Nature Photons, 17 (10), 645-647.
O’Fong, J. L., & Fong D. B. (2016).
Valence and electron-driven solar-fusion for hydrogen production.
Nature, 499, 515-516.
Zuka, S., & Mihalik, M. M. (2014).
A new solar cell with carbon nanotubes.
Nature Communications, 5 (1), 08800.
Zuki, H., Kowalski, T., & O’Kane, S. (2012).
An improved method for hydrogen-tooxygen transfer in a carbonaceous mineral sample.
Science, 339, 607-614.
Fong K. J., & Yee, J.-W.
Photochemical characterization of an electron–valence coupling for a 1-million years-old carbonaceous mafic meteorite.
Nature Nanotechnology, 7 (11), 3275-3278.
Fonseca, P., Zuk C., & Gavazzi, A. (2011).
An electrochemical method for the electron–atom interaction in a complex carbonaceous carbonaceous-mafic sample.
Nature Materials, 3 (11).
Fonsi, L., Zuzuk D., & Moritz, F. (2007).
High-efficiency electron–dissociative electron transfer with a high-temperature surface electrochemical catalyst for a carbon nanocarbons nanostructure.
Nature Chemistry, 3, 611-616. 8. Fond,