Scientists Have Found A New Way To "Tame" The Sun's Energy
Scientists of the national research University MIET together with colleagues from the Lodz technical University (Lodz, Poland) developed the material that allows increasing the production efficiency of promising methanol fuel by more than 20 times. The results are published in the Topics in Catalysis journal.
Turning carbon dioxide into fuel into methanol, for example, is an effective way to reduce its toxic emissions into the atmosphere, according to the authors of the study. The best solution, in their opinion, is to use renewable energy for this purpose.
Today, the synthesis of methanol from CO2 is mainly carried out by the photocatalytic method, in which the reaction proceeds at the expense of light energy. However, titanium oxide, used as a photocatalyst, reacts only to ultraviolet light, which is only five percent of sunlight.
To fully utilize the Sun's energy, scientists modified the surface of titanium oxide with metal nanoparticles. It turned out that the combination of titanium oxide with some metals allows the catalyst to capture the energy of the visible part of the spectrum, covering most of the sunlight.
X-ray diffraction analysis and scanning electron microscopy were used to study the structure of the obtained materials. The research was carried out within the framework of the RGNF grant No. 19-000595, aimed at developing the principles of artificial photosynthesis in the visible spectrum.
In the future, the team of scientists intends to develop a hybrid photocatalytic system adapted to work in the visible spectrum and able to solve such problems as the synthesis of organic fuels and water purification from organic pollutants, as well as the production of hydrogen or oxygen by water decomposition.