Solar panels that can make hydrogen fuel a cheap source of energy inspired by biomimicry.

Currently one of the areas of greatest exploration in terms of solar panels is "artificial photosynthesis" which is used to drive chemical reactions and thus generate clean energy. Particularly, today there is a way to imitate the process carried out by plants and some microorganisms (photosynthesis) with the aim of chemically separating water and producing hydrogen as fuel or generating liquids for combustion from carbon dioxide and water. Researchers from Canada and Germany have recently published the latest advances in the journal Joule, under which the technology may be economically viable.

The proposed photoreactors are low cost, thanks to a relatively simple compact design that allows easy operation and maintenance, allowing for mass manufacturing. In addition, the energy efficiency it offers is high compared to other current models. Researchers have used optical models and computer-aided design. The reactor is made up of hundreds of V-shaped channels where the reactions occur, all with a tube-shaped cavity at the bottom. The inner surface is covered with reflective material. The shape of the structure allows the capture of light from different directions and channel it to the cavity where the water and a catalyst are located that allow the separation. In this way, the emulation of a process can give us an alternative for the generation of sustainable energy.

Source: Anthropocene

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