Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Water splitting using a single catalyst

Electrochemical water splitting typically requires two catalysts, one to evolve oxygen and one for hydrogen. However, scientists lead by Xile Hu at EPFL in Lausanne, Switzerland, have discovered that nickel phosphide can act as a catalyst, evolving both hydrogen oxygen from water simultaneously. Nickel phosphide was loaded onto a carbon electrode in an alkaline electrolyser which lead to the material adopting a core-shell structure, with a nickel phosphide core and an active nickel oxide species on the outside. The team observed successful water splitting, with the evolution of both hydrogen and oxygen and a current density of 10mA/cm2 at a low water splitting potential of 1.63V.

Want to know more?

Read the full article in Chemistry World by Osman Mohamed.

Or, take a look at the original article which is free to access until 7th August 2015:

Ni2P as a Janus catalyst for water splitting: the oxygen evolution activity of Ni2P nanoparticles” by L-A. Stern et al., DOI: 10.1039/C5EE01155H

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Wind-powered lighting is almost a breeze

Scientists in South Korea have created a material that emits bright white light when a stream of nitrogen is blown over it. The discovery paves the way for eco-friendly displays and lighting systems powered by natural winds.A stream of air causes the rods to bend, emitting light from the phosphors

Mechanoluminescence, where materials emit light under mechanical stress, is not a new phenomenon; in 1605 Francis Bacon reported seeing flashes of light when he snapped sugar crystals. But, as this required the crystals to be fractured, mechanoluminescence was not thought to have any practical applications until elasto-mechanoluminescent materials were discovered in 1999. These materials emit light under elastic deformation without being destroyed, and can be used for lighting, medical imaging or even as artificial skin.

However, all of the elasto-mechanoluminescent materials discovered so far have several associated problems. One problem is the light they produce is very faint, and is usually only as bright as luminescent paint. Another problem is that the light is coloured, often green or yellow, depending on the compounds used. This is a stumbling block for applications where white light is preferable.

Both of these problems have been addressed by Soon Moon Jeong’s team from the Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology. By incorporating a mixture of coloured phosphors made from copper-doped zinc sulfide into a flexible plastic polydimethylsiloxane composite, the researchers created an elasto-mechanoluminescent material that emits white light. The colour of the light can also be tuned by changing the proportion each phosphor.

Interested to find out more? Read the full article by Stephen McCarthy in Chemistry World.

Read the original article in Energy & Environmental Science:

Bright, wind-driven white mechanoluminescence from zinc sulphide microparticles embedded in a polydimethylsiloxane elastomer
Soon Moon Jeong, Seongkyu Song, Kyung-Il Joo, Joonwoo Kim, Sung-Ho Hwang, Jaewook Jeong and Hyunmin Kim
Energy Environ. Sci., 2014, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C4EE01776E

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Aaron Wheeler interviewed in Chemistry World

Energy and Environmental Science author Aaron Wheeler (University of Toronto) was recently interviewed in Chemistry World about his recent paper describing a technique that can screen algae with the aim of generating more efficient biofuels.

Here’s the beginning of the interview:

You recently reported an exciting technique that can screen algae grown under different wavelengths with the aim of generating more efficient biofuels.1 Can you tell me more about this work?

Sure, this was the first time we have developed a method for the area of renewable energy. I had a student, Steve Shih, who is now a postdoc at the Joint BioEnergy Institute in California, who became interested in the idea that we can cultivate algae to produce biofuel. Of course this is an idea that has been around for a while.

So, in looking at the problem it seems that the biofuel we can collect from algae does not have the required energy density relative to the cost needed to extract and generate fuel, to compete with non-renewable resources. There are ongoing efforts to develop ways to encourage algae to generate more lipids. The idea is that the algae generate stores of lipids that we can then extract and refine into fuel.

We saw an opportunity; we thought we might be able to build a microfluidic device that could rapidly screen for conditions that folks haven’t looked at before just to see if we could find some conditions that encouraged the algae to produce more lipids. A lot of time we start these projects but don’t end up with an exciting result, but this one was really exciting in that we believe we have identified a brand new phenomenon which is that, at least for this particular algae, if you culture them under yellow light they experience some sort of stress which causes them to increase lipid production!

Visit Chemistry World now to read the rest!

1. S C C Shih et al, Energy Environ. Sci., 2014, 7, 2366 (DOI: 10.1039/c4ee01123f)

Aaron Wheeler

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

The future is lead-free for perovskite solar cells

A lead-free and non-toxic alternative to current perovskite solar-cell technology has been reported by researchers in the UK: tin halide perovskite solar cells. They are also cheaper to manufacture than the silicon solar cells currently dominating the market.The future is lead-free for perovskite solar cells

Nakita Noel, part of Henry Snaith’s research team at the University of Oxford, describes how perovskite materials have caused a bit of a whirlwind since they came out in 2009: ‘Everybody that’s working in the solar community is looking to beat silicon.’ Despite the high efficiency of conventional crystalline silicon solar cells (around 20%), high production and installation costs decrease their economic feasibility and widespread use.

The challenge to find a cheaper alternative led to the development of perovskite-based solar cells, as organic–inorganic metal trihalide perovskites have both abundant and cheap starting materials. However, the presence of lead in some semiconductors could create toxicology issues in the future. As Noel puts it ‘every conference you present at somebody is bound to put up their hand and ask “What about the lead – isn’t this toxic?”

Interested to find out more? Read the full article by Vicki Marshall in Chemistry World.

Read the original article in Energy & Environmental Science.

Lead-Free Organic-Inorganic Tin Halide Perovskites for Photovoltaic Applications
Nakita K. Noel, Samuel D. Stranks, Antonio Abate, Christian Wehrenfennig, Simone Guarnera, Amir Haghighirad, Aditya Sadhanala, Giles E Eperon, Sandeep K. Pathak, Michael B Johnston, annamaria petrozza, Laura Herz and Henry Snaith
Energy Environ. Sci., 2014, Accepted Manuscript
DOI: 10.1039/C4EE01076K

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Putting the power in power-dressing – EES article in Chemistry World

Scientists in the UK developing wearable electronics have knitted a flexible fabric that delivers twice the power output of current energy harvesting textiles.

There is considerable interest and research into wearable piezoelectric energy harvesters that use waste energy from human movement or the ambient environment to power low-energy consuming wearable devices, such as wireless sensors and consumer electronics. Typically these materials are ceramic-based with limited flexibility, so aren’t that comfortable to wear, and include toxic elements like lead. They also involve charge-collecting metallic electrodes with poor fatigue resistance that fail after repeated use. New, less rigid materials with sufficient mechanical strength and an all-in-one design are therefore highly sought after.

The polymeric piezoelectric fibres created by Navneet Soin at the University of Bolton and colleagues in the laboratory of Elias Siores fulfill all of the above: they are flexible, strong and breathable.

Interested to know more? Read the full news article by Polly Wilson on Chemistry World here…

Read the article by N Soin et al. in EES:

Novel “3-D spacer” all fibre piezoelectric textiles for energy harvesting applications
Navneet Soin, Tahir Shah, Subhash Anand, Junfeng Geng, Wiwat Pornwannachai, Pranab Mandal, David Reid, Surbhi Sharma, Ravi Hadimani, Derman Vatansever Bayramol and Elias Siores
Energy Environ. Sci., 2014, Accepted Manuscript
DOI: 10.1039/C3EE43987A, Paper

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

EES Issue 2 of 2014 out now!

Graphical abstract: Front coverThe latest issue of EES is now online. You can read the full issue here.

The outside front cover features the paper Exciton diffusion in organic photovoltaic cells by S. Matthew Menke and Russell J. Holmes.

Lead candidates for high-performance organic photovoltaics from high-throughput quantum chemistry – the Harvard Clean Energy Project is the paper highlighted on the inside front cover by Johannes Hachmann, Roberto Olivares-Amaya, Adrian Jinich, Anthony L. Appleton, Martin A. Blood-Forsythe, László R. Seress, Carolina Román-Salgado, Kai Trepte, Sule Atahan-Evrenk, Süleyman Er, Supriya Shrestha, Rajib Mondal, Anatoliy Sokolov, Zhenan Bao and Alán Aspuru-Guzik.

Issue 2 contains a number of excellent Analysis, Review and Perspective articles:

Energy demand and emissions of the non-energy sector
Vassilis Daioglou, Andre P. C. Faaij, Deger Saygin, Martin K. Patel, Birka Wicke and Detlef P. van Vuuren

Lithium metal anodes for rechargeable batteries
Wu Xu, Jiulin Wang, Fei Ding, Xilin Chen, Eduard Nasybulin, Yaohui Zhang and Ji-Guang ZhangGraphical abstract: Inside front cover

Recent progress on flexible lithium rechargeable batteries
Hyeokjo Gwon, Jihyun Hong, Haegyeom Kim, Dong-Hwa Seo, Seokwoo Jeon and Kisuk Kang

Enhancing SOFC cathode performance by surface modification through infiltration
Dong Ding, Xiaxi Li, Samson Yuxiu Lai, Kirk Gerdes and Meilin Liu

Heterogeneous nanocarbon materials for oxygen reduction reaction
Da-Wei Wang and Dangsheng Su

Directing the film structure of organic semiconductors via post-deposition processing for transistor and solar cell applications
Anna M. Hiszpanski and Yueh-Lin Loo

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Efficient recovery justifies silver’s use in solar cells – EES article in Chemistry World

Silver is a scarce raw material but the first real scale study of recycling polymer solar cells reveals that its use can be sustainable.

Putting up huge nubers of solar panels every day could help address the world’s energy crisis. ‘If you want to solve big problems, then the scale of whatever you are doing is also likely to be big, and so is any waste you generate,’ explains Frederik Krebs who led the study at the Technical University of Denmark. ‘This should therefore be part of your thinking when you are developing something.’

Silver is needed for solar cell electrodes but it is also a precious metal, cutting into both the cost of production and energy payback time of mass-produced solar cells. Now, Krebs’ team has demonstrated that 95% of the silver electrodes in polymer solar cell modules can be reclaimed as silver chloride after simply shredding the modules and soaking them in nitric acid. This yield would diminish the overall energy payback time of the solar cells from 139 days to 128 days, a decrease of 8%.

Interested to know more? Read the full news article by Jennifer Newton on Chemistry World here…

Read the article by R R Søndergaard et al. in EES:

Efficient decommissioning and recycling of polymer solar cells: justification for use of silver
Roar R. Søndergaard, Nieves Espinosa, Mikkel Jørgensen and Frederik C. Krebs
Energy Environ. Sci., 2014, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C3EE43746A, Communication

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

EES Issue 1 of 2014 out now!

Graphical abstract: Front coverThe latest issue of EES is now online. You can read the full issue here.

The outside front cover features the paper Energy applications of ionic liquids by Douglas R. MacFarlane, Naoki Tachikawa, Maria Forsyth, Jennifer M. Pringle, Patrick C. Howlett, Gloria D. Elliott, James H. Davis, Masayoshi Watanabe, Patrice Simon and C. Austen Angell.

Constructing ionic highway in alkaline polymer electrolytes is the paper highlighted on the inside front cover by Jing Pan, Chen Chen, Yao Li, Lei Wang, Lisheng Tan, Guangwei Li, Xun Tang, Li Xiao, Juntao Lu and Lin Zhuang.

Issue 11 contains a number of excellent Opinion, Analysis, Review, Minireview and Perspective articles:

Electrochemical energy storage in a sustainable modern society
John B. Goodenough

Reflections on the topic of solar fuels
John Meurig Thomas

The renaissance of energy innovation
Jim Skea

Piezoelectric and ferroelectric materials and structures for energy harvesting applications
C. R. Bowen, H. A. Kim, P. M. Weaver and S. Dunn

Physics and chemistry of CdTe/CdS thin film heterojunction photovoltaic devices: fundamental and critical aspects
S. Girish Kumar and K. S. R. Koteswara Rao

Upgrading of lignin-derived bio-oils by catalytic hydrodeoxygenation
Majid Saidi, Fereshteh Samimi, Dornaz Karimipourfard, Tarit Nimmanwudipong, Bruce C. Gates and Mohammad Reza Rahimpour

Carbon capture and storage update
Matthew E. Boot-Handford, Juan C. Abanades, Edward J. Anthony, Martin J. Blunt, Stefano Brandani, Niall Mac Dowell, José R. Fernández, Maria-Chiara Ferrari, Robert Gross, Jason P. Hallett, R. Stuart Haszeldine, Graphical abstract: Inside front coverPhilip Heptonstall, Anders Lyngfelt, Zen Makuch, Enzo Mangano, Richard T. J. Porter, Mohamed Pourkashanian, Gary T. Rochelle, Nilay Shah, Joseph G. Yao and Paul S. Fennell

Energetic I–III–VI2 and I2–II–IV–VI4 nanocrystals: synthesis, photovoltaic and thermoelectric applications
Feng-Jia Fan, Liang Wu and Shu-Hong Yu

Lithium ion battery applications of molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) nanocomposites
Tyler Stephenson, Zhi Li, Brian Olsen and David Mitlin

Energy applications of ionic liquids
Douglas R. MacFarlane, Naoki Tachikawa, Maria Forsyth, Jennifer M. Pringle, Patrick C. Howlett, Gloria D. Elliott, James H. Davis, Masayoshi Watanabe, Patrice Simon and C. Austen Angell

The panoscopic approach to high performance thermoelectrics
Li-Dong Zhao, Vinayak P. Dravid and Mercouri G. Kanatzidis

Transparent paper: fabrications, properties, and device applications
Hongli Zhu, Zhiqiang Fang, Colin Preston, Yuanyuan Li and Liangbing Hu

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Scorched hair makes supercapacitors greener – EES article in Chemistry World

Researchers in China have used human hair to make a vital component of energy-storage devices. The discovery could lead to more efficient and environmentally-friendly replacements for traditional batteries.

Many batteries currently in use, such as the lead–acid batteries in cars, are heavy and bulky and rely on hazardous chemicals to store electrical charge. With increasing worldwide sales of mobile electronics, the environmental impact of batteries is receiving more attention and motivating research into supercapacitors, which can be made from sustainable carbon-based materials.

Unfortunately, these carbon materials are usually either difficult to manufacture or derived from fossil fuels. Now, however, Feng Yan and his team at Soochow University have used a simple carbonisation process to turn human hair – a common and renewable waste product – into carbon flakes suitable for use in supercapacitor electrodes.

Interested to know more? Read the full news article by Stephan McCarthy in Chemistry World here…

Read the article by Wenjing Qian et al. in EES:

Human Hair-Derived Carbon Flakes for Electrochemical Supercapacitors
Wenjing Qian, fFengxia Sun, Yanhui Xu, Lihua Qiu, Chang-Hai Liu, Sui-Dong Wang and Feng Yan
Energy Environ. Sci., 2013, Accepted Manuscript
DOI: 10.1039/C3EE43111H, Paper

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

From seaweed to solar cells – EES article in Chemistry World

After years of using platinum, scientists suggest they could one day use extracts from marine plants to replace it in solar cells.

Dye-sensitized solar cells (DSCs) are quickly becoming a widespread and affordable alternative to photovoltaic solar cells. With this change of direction, it is pertinent that DSCs are made to be as efficient and inexpensive as possible for the mass market.

Platinum is traditionally used as the electrode material in DSCs, which, although it shows impressive performance, is not environmentally friendly and has high production costs.

Now, Tingli Ma and co-workers based in China, Japan and Switzerland have expanded their research on natural dyes and biomass manipulation to see if sea tangle, a common marine plant, is a suitable source of raw materials for DSCs. And their results look promising. The naturally sourced materials improve on the power conversion efficiency of previously tested natural dyes to the point where they are comparable to those of synthetic, more expensive materials.

Interested to know more? Read the full news article by Jessica Brand in Chemistry World here…

Read the article by Liang Wang et al. in EES:

From Marine Plant to Photovoltaic Devices
Liang Wang, Yantao Shi, Xiaogong Bai, Yujin Xing, Hong Zhang, lin Wang, Wei Guo, Ning Wang, Ting Li Ma and Michael Gratzel
Energy Environ. Sci., 2013, Accepted Manuscript
DOI: 10.1039/C3EE42767F, Communication

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)