A paint that adsorbs solar energy and water vapor to convert it into hydrogen? It sounds like a figment of the imagination, but Australian scientists are poised to pave the way for the production of hydrogen, the cleanest source of energy available. The secret? A newly created compound which emulates and improves the properties of silicon.
Specifically, as explained by the Australian University’s RMIT research team, the new material is synthetic molybdenum sulfide. This substitute has the same virtues as a silicone bag for absorbing moisture from food, medicine or electronic equipment, but incorporates another advantage: its quality as a semiconductor and catalyst; aspects that allow you to absolve water vapor and convert it to hydrogen.
By mixing this compound with titanium oxide, a pigment widely used in paint, the researchers verified that the product “This led to a paint that only produces hydrogen with solar energy and humidity in the air”. It is explained by the project manager, Torben Daeneke, who underlines the achievement that this implies: “simply adding a material turns a brick wall into an energy collector and fuel producer“.
The system delivers results almost anywhere, even those farthest from water and in dry areas with high temperatures. The only condition is that there is water vapor, according to the researchers, who see in this invention. “A wide variety of benefits” because you don’t need clean or filtered water to feed the system.
“It’s an extraordinary concept: to produce fuel from the sun and water vapor in the air”, considers Koroush Kalantar-Zadeh, another of the drivers of this innovation. With it, hydrogen production could be expanded, considered by experts to be the cleanest source of energy, which can also be used as an alternative fuel for conventional combustion engines, among many other possible applications.
More information in RMIT.