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Light Can Now Convert Biomass to Hydrogen Fuel

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A group of scientists from the University of Cambridge found a way to produce fuel through solar power. The system bases its foundation on using sunlight to react biomass to turn into Hydrogen.

A team of scientists at the University of Cambridge has developed a way of using solar power to generate a fuel that is both sustainable and relatively cheap to produce. It’s using natural light to generate hydrogen from biomass. A member of the team, Dr. Erwin Reisner, finds it extraordinarily exciting to be able to use sunlight to produce clean hydrogen through biomass.

As society often struggles to find a way to recycle the waste products, this new research can open doors to this empty field that immediately needs to be filled as natural resources decline. Biomass has been known as a great source for energy and heat for a long time. If biomass stays under high pressure and temperature for a long time, then the main component of biomass, lignocellulose can be converted into hydrogen through gasification process.

Yet, for the process to work efficiently, a certain photocatalytic conversion process should take place. Nanoparticles are added to basic water, where the biomass is stored. Then, the biomass is put in front of a light that resembles a solar light. The solution absorbs the light’s energy and the reaction, where biomass turns into hydrogen and other organic chemicals takes place.

To reach a maximized efficiency, the team tried different biomass structures like wood, paper, and leaves. None of the materials required a pre reaction in order for the process to occur.

There might be future developments for this research and finally, commercialization can take place after the UK patent application is completed.

[via renewableenergyworld and cam]

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