IIT Guwahati bids to produce hydrogen from water using sunlight

GUWAHATI: Researchers at IIT Guwahati are developing cost-effective materials to make energy-rich hydrogen from water using sunlight. Solar energy is considered to be one of the most promising clean and renewable energy sources known today.
The novel materials that are being made will use sunlight to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. A spokesman for IIT Guwahati said the materials were much cheaper than the high-quality metals currently in use and could produce affordable solar-powered hydrogen generators.

Although commonly known solar cells convert light directly into electrical energy, there are another solar-powered energy conversion system called photoelectrochemical (PEC) cells that have attracted attention in recent times due to direct energy production in combination with electrical energy.

PEC cells use solar energy to split water into simple and safe compounds to divide into hydrogen and oxygen, hydrogen is a high-energy fuel that can be stored and used as needed. These cells are therefore considered sacred grills for the carbon-free hydrogen economy.

This is a field of research for a team from the Department of Chemistry at IIT Guwahati led by Mohammad Qureshi. The team reported its latest findings in the American Chemical Society’s prestigious peer-reviewed journal, the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters. The co-authors of the paper are Professor Mohammad Qureshi and Suhaib Alam. The team has developed a non-noble metal catalyst that is just as good as the expensive metal in water separation in PEC cells.

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