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Proceedings Paper

Nano-manufactured catalyst for the production of hydrogen via solar thermal water splitting
Author(s): William Clower; Chester G. Wilson
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Paper Abstract

This paper reports on the creation of nano-manufactured catalyst for the production of hydrogen fuel via the solar thermal water splitting process. The solar thermal water splitting process is considered the holy grail of green energy as the process produces zero carbon emissions. This is made possible by focusing solar energy as the heating source, while the only reactant consumed in the process is water. For this work we are investigating the reaction dynamics of cobalt ferrite catalyst supported on an aluminum oxide support. Solar thermal water splitting occurs in two steps: reduction and oxidation reactions. The reduction step occurs by heating the catalyst, which produces oxygen and converts the cobalt ferrite/aluminum oxide to metal aluminates. The oxidation step begins by flowing water over the newly created metal aluminates. The metal aluminates react with the oxygen creating the original cobalt ferrite/aluminum oxide catalyst as well as hydrogen gas. The catalyst created for this work was done utilizing an electrospinning technique. In a one-step process the aluminum oxide support material can be incorporated with cobalt ferrite catalyst into a single nanofiber. With this technique nanofiber catalyst can be created with diameters ranging from 20 to 80 nm. Nanostructured materials allow for large surface areas >50 m2/g and surface area to volume ratios >9e7/m. The large surface area creates the opportunity for more active sites where the reactions can occur. An increase in reactivity has the potential to move fuel production rate for solar thermal water splitting closer to large-scale commercialization.

Paper Details

Date Published: 2 June 2016
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 9865, Energy Harvesting and Storage: Materials, Devices, and Applications VII, 98650G (2 June 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2223925
Show Author Affiliations
William Clower, Louisiana Tech Univ. (United States)
Chester G. Wilson, Louisiana Tech Univ. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9865:
Energy Harvesting and Storage: Materials, Devices, and Applications VII
Nibir K. Dhar; Achyut K. Dutta, Editor(s)

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