They Develop a New ‘Submarine Solar Cell’ for the Direct Photoproduction of Green Hydrogen Through Water

By October 6, 2023 3   min read  (379 words)

October 6, 2023 |

Green hydrogen underwater e1696596368401

Underwater and bathed in sunlight, a groundbreaking “submarine solar cell” stands as the recent innovation from the team of scientists at the University of Tübingen in Germany, led by Dr. Matthias May. This fascinating advancement focuses on the direct production of green hydrogen from water, a process further enhanced by the use of photoelectrochemical cells, consolidating photon capture and hydrogen generation in a unique and compact device.

A Different Approach for Effective Integrationcelula solar submarina

The cell, which combines the functions of solar absorption and reaction catalysis in a single submersible mechanism, offers a response to the constant quest for alternatives to make green hydrogen production a more economically accessible and efficient process. By relocating the energy source directly to the water splitting process site, some of the costs traditionally associated with hydrogen production are minimized.

Navigating Through Technical Challenges

Confronting the complexity of designing the interaction between solid and liquid, the group of researchers opted for a clever and technical strategy: the use of solar absorbers placed in thin layers on a germanium-based substrate. The material sequence involved the use of GaAs and GAInP, both III-V group photovoltaic semiconductors, followed by an AlInP layer to capture electrons and finally, a GaAs coating. This was followed by catalytic nanoparticles, applied meticulously thanks to the control of interfaces between materials on a nanometric scale.

 Results and Future Research Horizons

This precision work culminated in the development of an underwater solar cell with a notable initial solar-hydrogen conversion efficiency of 18%, which demonstrated a solid stability exceeding 15% for over 40 minutes.

While the University of Tubingen marks a turning point with its innovative cell structure, the path forward already envisions clear goals: expanding long-term stability, transitioning to silicon-based material systems that are more cost-effective, and venturing into broader dimensions in future applications and tests.

H2Demo: A Project Focused on the Future of Green Hydrogen

Framed within the H2Demo project, which also involves collaboration with the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE), this advancement is not only a scientific achievement but also symbolizes a significant step towards the future of clean energy, by exploring and maximizing the intrinsic relationship between solar cells and green hydrogen production.


SOURCE: ecoinventos



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