Renewable Energy’s Future: Splitting Water Molecules

Future of renewable energy technologies may change water splitting technology.

Renewable Energy’s Future; battery powered vehicles, solar and wind farms and energy supplies stored in batteries and chemical fuels may be used for the future economy based on clean and sustainable energy sources. Although examples of sustainability sources of energy are already in use. The timetable for broad adoption will be determined by scientific and technological breakthrounds.

The hydrogen economy, which allows society to meet energy needs, is a potential model for moving from fossil fuels for renewable energy’s future. Some scientists research the method of separating water, two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom, leading to hydrogen fuel and breathable oxygen gas to mass production of hydrogen gas.

The emphasis is on energy storage and conversion studies for renewable energy’s future, as an assistant professor for chemistry at Virginia Tech College of Science. This research is part of a study published in the Nature Catalysis journal, which addresses a key barrier to the division of electrochemical water, demonstrating a new technique for the reassembly, relivification and reuse of a catalyst to allow efficient water division. Chunguang Kuai, Lin’s former graduate student, has written the research for first time together with Zhengrui Xu, Anyang Hu, and Zhijie Yang, who are co-authors of the study of chemistry.

The key concept of this analysis is a topic in general classes of chemistry: catalysts. These substances increase the reaction rate without the chemical product being ingested. One way a catalyst increases the reaction rate is by reducing the energy required to start the reaction.


Water may seem important, but the process of partition is very difficult as a molecule consisting of just three atoms. But so did Lin ‘s lab. Even if one electron is transferred from the stable atom, it may take energy, but four are transported to oxidize oxygen in order to create oxygen gas.

The Lin Lab presents a typical catalyst known as Mixed Nickel Iron Hydroxide (MNF) to reduce the threshold in order to fulfill the high energy requirement. MNF reactions separate water well, but due to the MNF ‘s high reactivity, their service life is low and catalytic efficiency rapidly decreases.

Lin and his team found a new technique that would allow the reassembly to continue periodically to the original status of MNF, thus enabling the water splitting process. (In experiments, the team used fresh water, but Lin suggests that salt water, the richest form of water on this earth, could also work.)

With energy studies MNF has a long history. Thomas Edison used the same nickel and iron elements in the nickel hydroxide-based batteries when he contacted with batteries more than a century ago. In his experiments on nickel hydroxide, Edison found that oxygen gas formation is bad for a battery. However, the output of oxygen gas is the objective when the water is split.

MNF degrades into metal ions in the electrolytic solution during the Lin experiments, a major limiting factor in this process. But Lin’s team noticed the dissolved metal ions re-assembled in the ideal MNF catalyst for a duration of just two minutes when the electrochemical cell flips from its strong, electrocatalytical potential to a low and reducing potential. This happens because the pH gradient is inverted within the interface between the catalyst and the electrical solution. The Lin Lab also synthesizes the latest MNF as thin panels easier to rally than bulk materials since the reformation works so well.

Clean Energy Sources: Validation of X-ray Results

The team at Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource and the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory performed x-ray synchrotron tests to validate these results. These measures use the same basic concept, but on a much larger scale as the traditional X-ray hospital.

Synchrotron systems need a wide loop similar to the size of Virginia Tech’s Drillfield capable of performing high-speed X-ray spectroscopy and imagery. This helps Lin to generate high data levels under the catalytic conditions. In addition, this paper offers insights into a number of other significant electrochemical energy studies such as the reduction of nitrogen , carbon dioxide and zinc air batteries.

In addition to imaging, multiple measurements by X-ray spectroscopes have allowed us to analyze the manner in which individual metal ions come together and form clusters of various chemical compositions, “Lin said.” It has opened a door to test electrochemical reactions in real chemical environments.

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