This new paint developed by Australian researchers uses solar energy to produce hydrogen from air moisture. Soon it may be all you need to convert your house into a source of clean energy.
Despite recent claims by political actors that climate change is nothing but a hoax or that the power of fossil fuels must be unleashed, the search for alternative sources of energy to power our houses and cars is revealing to be fruitful.
The most recent contribution to a future towards clean and renewable energy came from a team of researchers from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, in Australia. They have developed a new solar paint that can absorb water vapour and split it to generate hydrogen, which is believed to be the cleanest source of energy on our planet.
The paint contains a newly developed compound called synthetic molybdenum-sulphide. “We found that mixing the compound with titanium oxide particles leads to a sunlight-absorbing paint that produces hydrogen fuel from solar energy and moist air”, said RMIT lead researcher Dr Torben Daeneke.
This compound acts like silica gel, which you probably know from the packets that come in with electronic devices, medicines and some food, to absorb moisture and keep things dry.
But unlike silica gel, this new material also acts as a semi-conductor, which means it can split the atoms of water into hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen can then be used in fuel cells as well as conventional combustion engines to, let’s say, power your car.
“Titanium oxide is the white pigment that is already commonly used in wall paint, meaning that the simple addition of the new material can convert a brick wall into energy harvesting and fuel production real estate”, explained Professor Kourosh Kalantar-zadeh.
According to the researchers, the end product would be effective in any place with water vapour in the air, even in dry and hot environments near oceans or other bodies of water.
The research was published in ACS Nano, a journal of the American Chemical Society.
The headline of this article was amended on 21 June 2017 to better reflect its contents