Researchers at the University of Michigan have made a scientific discovery that is intriguing all on its own but it is the breakthrough’s potential applications in solar power generation that have them excited. According to Stephen Rand, a professor at the university and author of the paper that discusses his team’s discovery in the “Journal of Applied Physics”, the researchers found a way to make an “optical battery” which harnesses the magnetic attributes in light that, until now, scientists didn’t think amounted to much of anything.
The new approach involves placing a single atomic layer of palladium atoms onto silver nanoparticles. ‘The structural and electronic effects from the underlying silver greatly enhance the catalytic properties of palladium, giving impressive activity for the conversion of formic acid to hydrogen and carbon dioxide at room temperature,’ Edman told us.
He explains that the storage and handling of organic liquids, such as formic acid, is much easier and safer than storing hydrogen. The catalysts would enable the production of hydrogen from liquid fuel stored in a disposable or recycled cartridge, creating miniature fuel cells to power everything from mobile phones to laptops.
From Chemistry World:
When fresh water rivers flow into the sea the concentration difference leads to a change in entropy. US researchers have developed a battery that generates power from that entropy difference.