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Curtin University Hydrogen Research Leads to New Solar Ideas for Green Energy

A new study led by Curtin University explores the use of methanol as storage for hydrogen fuel, offering a potential green option for the extraction and creation of this zero-pollution energy source.

Cheif researcher ARC DECRA Fellow Dr. Guohua Jia, from Curtin’s School of Molecular and Life Sciences and the Curtin Institute for Functional Molecules and Interfaces, stated hydrogen energy was one of many cleanest renewable energy carriers naturally available, however, the present technique of obtaining hydrogen from methanol could require harsh conditions, probably resulting in carbon emissions.

Methanol is low-value, rich in hydrogen, and the manufacturing process of methanol can include renewable sources. Nevertheless, traditional methods for hydrogen extraction from methanol typically require the methanol to be heated to a very high temperature, over 200 degrees Celsius and reach high pressure.

To increase the ‘green’ side of utilizing methanol as a source of hydrogen fuel, the Curtin-led study staff looked the opportunity of using PV energy to break down methanol at room temperature and under normal pressure, utilizing atomically thin single-layer molybdenum disulfide nanosheets.

Dr. Jia explained that in his team’s extraction process, the MoS2 nanosheets serve as photocatalysts, using the sunlight to extract the hydrogen from the methanol mixture.

Co-researcher Dr. Zongyou Yin, from the Australian National University, defined that to complete this new process, the staff developed new methods that can be able to exclusively producing single-layer MoS2 nanosheets in large scale.

The study, “Collodial Single-Layer Photocatalysts for Methanol-Storable Solar H2 Fuel,” was printed in Advanced Materials.

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