Swiss scientists have developed a material which can simultaneously clean water and produce hydrogen.
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ORGANOMETALLIC compounds (MOS) — one of the most useful and versatile materials because of its structural versatility, high porosity and remarkable optical and electronic properties.
Today, materials scientists actively testing the MOS for various chemical applications. One of them is photocatalysis, a process in which a photosensitive material is irritated by light. The absorbed excess energy displaces electrons from their atomic orbits, leaving instead an “electronic hole”. The product of a pair of electronic holes is an important component in any energy process that depends on light. In this case, it allows the MOS to influence various chemical reactions.
A team of scientists from the Federal Polytechnic school of Lausanne have developed a system based on MOS, is capable of producing two types of photocatalysis simultaneously: hydrogen production and water purification from pollutants. The material consists of cheap Nickel phosphide (Ni2P) and, as it turned out, provides an efficient photocatalysis under visible light. Carried out the work described in the article of the journal Advanced Functional Materials.
Simultaneous photocatalytic hydrogen generation and degradation of the dye using visible light sensitive ORGANOMETALLIC compounds / © Alina-Stavroula Kampouri/EPFL
The first type of photocatalysis is the production of hydrogen is associated with the reaction known as “splitting of water”. As the name implies, it splits water molecules into their components: hydrogen and oxygen.
The second type of photocatalysis is called the “degradation of organic pollutant”: it destroys the pollutants present in the water. Scientists have studied this innovative system of photocatalysis based on MOS, destroying the toxic dye rhodamine B is often used to simulate organic pollutants.
Experts conducted and both tests consistently showed that the photocatalytic system on the basis that the MOE is able to integrate photocatalytic hydrogen production with the degradation of rhodamine B at the same time. This means that you can now use a photocatalytic system for water purification from pollutants and to produce hydrogen, which can be used as fuel.
“This photocatalytic system without noble metals shifts the area of photocatalysis is a step closer to practical “solar” application and demonstrates the great potential of MOS in this field,” says study leader Kyriakos Stylianou.