New non-metallic photocatalyst for the production of environmentally friendly hydrogen

South Korean researchers have developed an option that uses sunlight to produce green hydrogen.

South Korean scientists have developed a new form of non-metallic photocatalyst that can be used for the production of green hydrogen.


H2 without emissions.

This new type of catalyst uses sunlight to produce H2 without generating greenhouse gas emissions.

The non-metallic photocatalyst for the production of green hydrogen has the potential to help overcome a number of challenges associated with the clean production of this emission-free fuel.

Although renewable energies such as solar or wind are used, the production of H2 still has certain components that can make it a not totally clean process and that it continues to have an environmental impact.

Green hydrogen – plant – computer

Traditional photocatalysts are able to absorb bright light to trigger chemical reactions. However, the problem with them is that they are made mostly of metallic materials which can be harmful to the environment, both in their production and in their handling once they reach the end of their useful life.

The researchers found a non-metallic alternative to try to overcome this challenge.

With a non-metallic photocatalyst, the production of green hydrogen could take a step in a cleaner direction.

According to a statement from the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF), researchers from Inha University have developed a High performance non-metallic carbon nitride photocatalyst with new structural shape. It can be used to use sunlight to break down water molecules into oxygen and H2.

Unlike the platinum catalyst, which is made of a precious metal and is quite expensive, the newly designed photosensitive catalyst is quite cheap to manufacture and, according to NRF, is also non-toxic.

Researchers determined that by using an environmentally friendly strategy of adding water and current during the process of creating the carbon nitride photocatalyst, the result was a component with about 12 times greater photocatalytic efficiency. to that of a traditional metal catalyst.

In addition, the new design has also proven to be considerably more stable and notably more durable than conventional devices considered the current standard, NRF said in its statement.

Catalysis Basics – Hydrogen and Platinum – How does it work?

Basically, molecules are held together by chemical bonds, and chemical reactions are usually as simple as breaking some bonds and making new ones with other atoms.

Breaking links requires energy, while creating links provides energy.

Some bonds are stronger than others, so it takes more energy to break them, but as much energy is emitted as it takes to create the bond. For example, a hydrogen molecule has two hydrogen atoms. A small amount of energy is needed to break the bond between them.

If we allow these atoms to bond once more the same amount of energy will be released, the reaction between hydrogen and oxygen to form water involves two molecules of hydrogen and one of oxygen to start the reaction. The bonds between hydrogen and oxygen must be broken. This requires a lot of energy, but using a catalyst will reduce the amount of energy needed. Because? Because catalysts have a high affinity for certain reactants.

A catalyst like platinum has a high affinity for hydrogen, so it breaks the bond spontaneously and the hydrogen simply sticks to the platinum.

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