In partnership between the Politecnica de Catalunya University and the Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Technology in Spain, researchers have developed a stable and efficient photocatalyst for direct hydrogen production using sunlight.
Loaded the study Titled “Engineered titanium dioxide photocatalytic activation and stabilization of supported noble metal clusters during hydrogen evolution,” noting the necessity of renewable hydrogen production for research applications.
Similar to electrolysis, photocatalysis works to stimulate materials or particles by exposing them to light photons for the purpose of changing the state, behavior, or composition of the material.
Titanium dioxide is a cost-effective material, commonly used as a harmless white pigment, and has the ability to harness sunlight to produce hydrogen through photochemical reactions.
However, the occurrence of this process is hampered by energetic electrons that prefer to step aside rather than participate in the reactions. In their study, the researchers sought to enhance the photocatalytic activity of titanium dioxide by introducing metal nanoparticles as electron dopants, thus extending the lifetime of the active electrons and improving production significantly.
The study represents a major advance in sustainable hydrogen production led by Dr. Jordi Lorca and researcher Luis Soler, who used a mechanochemical process to deposit metal clusters on titanium dioxide nanoparticles with different patterns. The research team discovered that the crystal faces revealed by titanium dioxide play a crucial role in hydrogen production, affecting the stability of the photocatalyst and the strength of electron transfer between the semiconductor and metal nanoparticles.
The research results provide a glimpse into promising possibilities for creating new photocatalysts that can effectively and sustainably produce clean fuel in the form of green hydrogen. The study represents a decisive step for the future in the search for alternative energy sources and contributes to ongoing efforts in the field of renewable hydrogen production.