A paint that adsorbs solar energy and water vapor to convert it into hydrogen? It seems like a figment of the imagination, but Australian scientists are about to open this path for the production of hydrogen, the cleanest source of energy available. The secret? A newly created compound that emulates and improves the properties of silicon.
Specifically, as explained by the research team from the Australian University of RMIT, the new material is a synthetic molybdenum sulfide. This substitute has the same virtues as a silicon bag to absorb moisture from food, medicine or electronic equipment, but incorporates another advantage: its quality as a semiconductor and catalyst; aspects that allow you to absolve water vapor and convert it into hydrogen.
By mixing this compound with titanium oxide, a pigment widely used in paint, the researchers found that the product “led to a paint that produces hydrogen only with solar energy and humidity from the air . ” It is explained by the person in charge of the project, Torben Daeneke, who underlines the achievement that this implies: “simply adding a material turns a brick wall into an energy collector and a fuel producer “ .
The system offers results in almost any location, even those farthest from water and in dry areas with high temperatures. The only condition is that there is water vapor, according to the researchers, who see in this invention “a wide variety of advantages” since it does not need clean or filtered water to feed the system.
“It is an extraordinary concept: to produce fuel from the sun and the water vapor in the air”, considers Koroush Kalantar-Zadeh, another of the promoters of this innovation. With it, the production of hydrogen could be extended, considered by experts as the cleanest source of energy, which is also suitable for use as an alternative fuel for conventional combustion engines, among many other possible applications.