Reading Time: 3 minutes
Solar energy technology is evolving and thus how we convert solar energy into usable power is evolving, too.
According to an article written by Irina Slav and published on OilPrice.com, scientists are researching a new solar cell that could change the solar landscape as we know it. “A cell that can capture the whole visible light spectrum and turn the energy into hydrogen. The cell is actually a molecule, and it is a busy molecule: it not only harnesses 50 percent more solar energy than existing solar cells, but it also turns this energy into hydrogen.”
The article continues quoting chemistry professor and lead researcher in the team that developed the molecule, Claudia Turro from the Ohio State University, who explains, “The whole idea is that we can use photons from the sun and transform it into hydrogen. To put it simply, we are saving the energy from sunlight and storing it into chemical bonds so it can be used at a later time.”
Nicki Zvik, Founder of Green Solar Technologies and vocal solar energy advocate shares his excitement for development and for its potential impact on the future of the solar industry, stating, “There’s nothing that exhilarates us at GST quite like the news of advancements that are going to propel the solar industry forward and that could quite literally change the future of the world.”
Slav’s article continues, “‘What makes it work is that the system is able to put the molecule into an excited state, where it absorbs the photon and is able to store two electrons to make hydrogen,’ Turro added. ‘This storing of two electrons in a single molecule derived from two photons, and using them together to make hydrogen, is unprecedented.’
The molecule is a form of rhodium—an inert metal and member of the platinum group—and because it can both collect solar energy and then act as a catalyst to turn it into hydrogen, it makes for a much more efficient fuel production system than existing alternatives, at least with respect to energy loss during the process of conversion of solar energy into hydrogen.”
Zvik adds, “Efficiency is a huge factor in creating a quality solar energy system. And though this molecule is currently being discussed for the powering of cars, it can be seen as the beginning of something much greater. With great minds continuing to make breakthroughs in solar technology, we can assume that the future solar landscape will be far more prestigious than we ever could have imagined when we first began the journey only decades ago.”