University group receives $1 million for hydrogen-generating research

10/20/05

Solar light used to split water molecules



A University research group led by Manoranjan Misra has developed a novel method of splitting water molecules to generate hydrogen. (Photo by: Marketing and Communications)
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The University of Nevada, Reno's Materials Nanotechnolgy Research Group, under the direction of Manoranjan Misra, professor of materials science in the Department of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering, has developed titanium dioxide nanotube arrays for generating hydrogen by splitting water using solar light. The group received $1 million from the U.S. Department of Energy to fund the project.

"We are working toward scale-up in generating a high amount of hydrogen from water and its ultimate utilization as a clean energy resource," said Misra.

This novel method can split water to produce hydrogen energy in a more efficient manner than what is available currently in the marketplace. The fabrication and production of these nanotubes are accomplished by an inexpensive electrochemical method. University scientists are capable of adding different tubular materials to increase the water-splitting efficiency and are able to use most parts of the solar light.

"We can put one trillion nanotube-holes in solid titanium oxide substrate, which is approximately the size of thumbnails," said Misra. Each of these holes is a thousand times smaller than a human hair and act as nanoelectrodes.

The other part of the hydrogen project involves the storage of hydrogen in the nanoporous titanium and carbon nanotube assemblies. These nanomaterials are powerful in storing hydrogen for vehicular application. The University has filed several patents covering the related technologies.

The integrated nanotube project for hydrogen generation and storage was initiated by National Science Foundation.

Source: Eurekalert & others

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