Solar Fuel Starting Up

Believe it or not, solar fuel may be on its way to commercial success. That is if all goes well for Sun Catalytix, a Boston-area solar startup which just announced funding from the reputable venture capital firm, Polaris Venture Partners. This unique concept, so-called solar fuel, is the brain child of MIT professor Daniel Nocera. sun-catalytix1.jpgPhoto Credit: Kosmix His technology uses solar energy to power hydrogen fuel cells in a car. Nocera’s system works by placing an electrode in water containing phosphate and cobalt. According to MIT, when electricity enters that electrode, the cobalt and phosphate will create a film around it. That in turn will act as a catalyst that separates oxygen gas from the water, leaving hydrogen molecules behind. Then a second platinum catalyst is used to convert the hydrogen molecules into hydrogen gas, which can power fuel cells and therefore vehicles. Two significant hurdles may remain, although Sun Catalytix is very secretive about its state of affairs. The first is to develop a material that can absorb enough solar energy to begin the water splitting reaction. The second is to find a metal cheaper than platinum to catalyze the latter reaction and power the fuel cells. Via Xconomy

Posted on April 30 in Solar News by .

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