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Directory:MIT:Daniel Nocera:Catalytic Electrolysis

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Electrolysis Breakthrough for Solar Storage


Inspired by the photosynthesis performed by plants, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have combined a liquid catalyst with photovoltaic cells to achieve a super efficient (nearly 100%) electrolysis.

This becomes a very effective storage system. One obvious extension of this would be the cost-effective storage of daytime solar energy for night-time use. Excess capacity during the day could be stored as hydrogen and oxygen, then used in fuel cells at night when needed.

"Solar power has always been a limited, far-off solution. Now we can seriously think about solar power as unlimited and soon." -- Daniel Nocera; Science; July 31, 2008

Those playing with onboard electrolysis for hydroxy gas injection into the air intake might find this development to be noteworthy as well.

Contents

Official Websites



Videos

- - - -

  • "Tiny Bubbles" Eurika Moment - MIT chemists Daniel Nocera and Matthew Kanan discover a new catalyst that speeds up the splitting of water into oxygen and hydrogen. Catalysts - Cobalt, Oxygen and Phosphorus instead of Platinum. 10.10 Minutes (TechTV; August 12, 2008)
  • Daniel Nocera describes new process for storing solar energy - In a revolutionary leap that could transform solar power from a marginal, boutique alternative into a mainstream energy source, MIT researchers have overcome a major barrier to large-scale solar power: storing energy for use when the sun doesn’t shine. 2.02 Minutes (TechTV; July 30, 2008)

How it Works

Historically, the platinum electrodes used in electrolysis work well for splitting off the hydrogen, but platinum works very poorly for oxygen. The MIT catalyst works well to allow the efficient liberation of the oxygen.

Image:Electrolysis animation Caltech-MIT bf32.gif

The new catalyst developed by MIT researchers consists of cobalt metal, phosphate and an electrode. When the catalyst is placed in water and electricity runs through the electrode, oxygen gas is produced.

Image:Nocera electrolysis chemistry diagram jp70.jpg

When another catalyst is used to produce hydrogen gas, the oxygen and hydrogen can be combined inside a fuel cell, creating carbon-free electricity to power a house or an electric car, day or night.

Image:Nocera solar system fuel cell diagram jp70.jpg

The patented catalyst formulation can be used in inexpensive, open containers. The new catalyst works at room temperature, in neutral pH water, and it's easy to set up, Nocera said.

Patents

patented catalyst formulation

Profiles

Company:

??

Currently, MIT is working with photovoltaic cell manufacturers to incorporate electrolysis using their catalyst into solar energy systems.

The project is part of the MIT Energy Initiative, a program designed to help transform the global energy system to meet the needs of the future and to help build a bridge to that future by improving today's energy systems.

Funding was provided by the MIT Energy Initiative, the Chesonis Family Foundation, the Solar Revolution Project and the National Science Foundation, with a goal to make the large scale deployment of solar energy within 10 years.

Inventor: Daniel Nocera

Daniel Nocera is The Henry Dreyfus Professor of Energy and Professor of Chemistry at MIT. http://web.mit.edu/chemistry/www/faculty/nocera.html

B.S. Rutgers University 1979
Ph.D. California Institute of Technology 1984

Dr. Nocera was assited by Matthew Kanan, a postdoctoral fellow.

Coverage

  • Featured: Best Exotic FE >
    Happy Birthday to Me: A Flood of Free Energy - On my birthday, I am being treated to a barrage of amazing developments to report on, including: TurXator overunity electromagnetic generator contracting for 85 GW; Freddy's water-fuel cell plans being posted; BlackLight's hydrino validation; Jeremiah Sturk's magnet motor; Wiseman's instructions on Bedini's electromagnetic overunity kits; 12 kW gravity motor. (PESN; November 30, 2010)
  • Solar Hydrogen / Hydrogen > Production / Storage >
    A Virus That Might Make Hydrogen - A team of scientists lead by material science professor Angela Belcher has genetically modified a virus that can exploit sunlight to split water into oxygen and hydrogen. If viable, the process could help solve the vexing problem of energy storage and the equally vexing problem of producing hydrogen in a reasonable and cost-effective way. (Green Tech Media; April 11, 2010)
  • Splitting Water to Store Solar Energy - MIT professor Daniel Nocera earlier worked on a catalysts that can divide water molecules which can be utilized to store energy. Daniel Nocera has established a company named as Sun Catalytix to give his dreams a concrete shape. He envisions low-cost Solar electrolysis producing hydrogen, stored in tanks, to run a fuel cell on demand, (Alt Energy News; Sept. 30, 2009)
  • Sun + Water = Fuel - With catalysts created by an MIT chemist, sunlight can turn water into hydrogen. If the process can scale up, it could make solar power a dominant source of energy. (MIT Technology Review; Nov.-Dec. 2008)
  • MIT Researchers Discover New Energy Storage Solution - In April of this year, RenewableEnergyWorld.com reported that the Chesonis Family Foundation gave the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) a grant of US $10 million to launch the Solar Revolution project. Now, MIT researchers believe they have overcome a major barrier to large-scale solar power: storing energy for use when the sun doesn't shine. (Renewable Energy World; August 4, 2008)
  • Solar-Power Breakthrough Researchers have found a cheap and easy way to store the energy made by solar power. (MIT Technology Review; July 31, 2008)
  • MIT researchers split water to store solar energy - The idea is to use the energy from solar photovoltaic panels (or another electricity source) to crack water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen gas. Those gases would be stored and used later in a fuel cell to make electricity when the sun is not shining. The concept is a closed-loop system: running the hydrogen and water through the fuel cell creates water, which can be captured and used again. The hope is that within 10 years, a cost-effective system that combines clean energy generation with storage can be engineered and available cheaply to people around the world. (CNET; July 31, 2008)
  • SCIENTISTS MIMIC ESSENCE OF PLANTS' ENERGY STORAGE SYSTEM - In a revolutionary leap that could transform solar power from a marginal, boutique alternative into a mainstream energy source, MIT researchers have overcome a major barrier to large-scale solar power: storing energy for use when the sun doesn't shine. (PhysOrg; July 31, 2008)
  • A “Giant Leap�? For Clean Energy: Hydrogen Production Breakthrough from MIT (TreeHugger; July 31, 2008)
  • New method extracts oxygen from water - Using common and affordable elements, and a glass of water, chemists may have given us a future way to efficiently obtain oxygen by splitting water. Researchers will need to study the new research results and incorporate the mechanisms into a larger system that also cleanly produces hydrogen. (NSF)
  • 'Major Discovery' Primed To Unleash Solar Revolution - In a revolutionary leap that could transform solar power from a marginal, boutique alternative into a mainstream energy source, MIT researchers have overcome a major barrier to large-scale solar power: storing energy for use when the sun doesn't shine. (Science Daily; July 31, 2008)


Comments

See Discussion page

Related Developments

Contact

Daniel Nocera
http://web.mit.edu/chemistry/www/faculty/nocera.html


Teresa Herbert
MIT News Office
Phone: 617-258-5403
E-mail: therbert@mit.edu

See also

HYDROGEN, GENERAL

HYDROGEN PRODUCTION AND STORAGE

HYDROGEN APPLICATIONS

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