Nanotech Solar Energy Device to Produce Hydrogen

Nanotech Solar Energy Device to Produce Hydrogen

Take solar energy, pass water through a nanotech device bathed in sunlight that mimics photosynthesis and you have hydrogen. Add to that a little carbon and you can get alcohol based fuels.

Lead investigator, Takumi Noguchi, PhD, Division of Material Science, Graduate School of Science, Nagoya University, Nagoya, Japan explains; “Photosynthesis in plants and algae is an efficient means of converting light and energy to produce storable chemical energy….. Artificial photosynthesis, which mimics natural photosynthesis but directly generates fuels such as alcohols and hydrogen rather than sugars, may be the key to solving our energy problem.”

Hydrogen, normally produced from hydrocarbons is a clean, energy source. However, scientist took another approach by looking at how photosynthetic plants and organisms use light energy to produce chemical energy that the plant or organism can store for later use. Following this line of thought led to the creation of a mechanism to strip off electrons from water and cause the water to split into its components, hydrogen and oxygen.

The paper published in IOS Press (link below) goes into detail on the design, but essentially this is a nanodevice using a PSI-GNP-PSII conjugate. The scientists used a gold nanoparticle (GNP) base onto which a cyanobacterial photosystem I (PSI) and photosystem II (PSII) complexes were placed using genetically modified histidine tags attached to the PSI and PSII proteins.

This gold nanoparticle conjugate creates a medium through which water can be broken down into its components hydrogen and oxygen, both of which are very useful in society. Hydrogen finds uses everywhere from industrial chemistry to food processing and electronics to rocket fuel. But if this process can be commercialised, at a reasonable cost, to operate in massive volumes, then clean energy readily available anywhere you have sunlight and water is gift to humanity.

I can see remote sites using this technology to crack water then burning the hydrogen to produce electrical energy with the waste product being water which can then be recycled through the gold nanodevice solar panel. I will be watching this space for news of a commercialised system because I have numerous places I would deploy such a device to help third world economies along the road to development.

Dennis Knox.
OSSeas Consulting

Biomedical Spectroscopy and Imaging, Volume 9, Issue 1-2 by IOS Press.
Available at

Editors Note:
The Press Release sourced from Eureka Alert, included the following statement, though not attributed to Eureka Alert:
( )
“Solar energy is considered by some to be the ultimate solution to address the current energy crisis and global warming and the environmental crises brought about by excessive consumption of fossil fuels.”
The SeaStrata position is that global warming as a theory, is now thoroughly debunked.
Oil and gas is not dead dinosaurs, so the term “fossil fuels” is incorrect.
The use of hydrocarbons in industry and transport has an insignificant effect on global temperatures.

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