Researchers at rice University (USA) has created a simple device that with the help of sunlight can split water into its constituent parts and to produce hydrogen to then use as fuel. The system is very reminiscent of the “artificial leaf”, it is quite self-sufficient and relatively cheap to manufacture.

“Artificial leaf” consists of a perovskite solar cell that is connected to the electrodes of the catalyst. When the light hits the solar cell, it begins to produce electricity, which activates a catalyst that splits water into oxygen and hydrogen. In the reaction process on the surface of the water bubbles of gas that can be collected for later use.

Conversion efficiency of sunlight to hydrogen is about 6.7%, which is relatively high for systems of this type. However, according to the researchers, its most useful feature is how self-sufficient a new installation.

Photocell and electrodes in a single unit Packed in polymer housing, which protects from damage and water. The electrodes are on the outside, where the splitting of water.

A big plus of this system is that it can be placed in water under direct sunlight for a long time and enable to produce hydrogen as needed.

According to scientists, perovskite solar cell has been modified so that it does not require expensive components (for example, platinum), which were replaced by cheap carbon. All of this should reduce costs and increase the competitiveness of the “artificial leaf” in the production process.
Source — Rice University