A new wave is created with minute metallic-gold particles being used for the conversion of sunlight to fuel. This technology is reported to be developed in South Australia, facilitates storing solar energy as an alternative to battery storage.
The conversion of solar energy directly into chemical energy in the forms of methanol and methane, is the brainchild of researchers from Flinders University and the University of Adelaide, in collaboration with quite a few other international institutions including Canterbury University, Victoria University, and the University of Utah. The development process uses dynamic nano-clusters consisting of a number of metallic-gold atoms. And, the atoms are said to interact with the molecules in UV light. The team reportedly built a device that is lab-scaled in Adelaide, South Australia, and has been testing the effectiveness of using artificial ultraviolet light.
The researchers say that with the scaling-up, there would be potential for commercial, industrial, and domestic applications. Meanwhile, the U.S. Army is fascinated with using the process as a potential mobile generator, which would assist the troops in the field to store energy.
Gunther Andersson, the lead researcher stated that the world needed more reliable storage. He said that the thing that was special with their work was the use of specific nano-clusters that made the conversion more efficient. He added that using a gold-based catalyst gave 10 times more product than with the use of a contemporary catalyst.
The technology reportedly has the potential for large-scale application, and the dynamic shape of nano-clusters create a more efficient production of chemical energy. A research paper on the solar storage process is reportedly expected to be published next month.
Meanwhile, South Australia is poised as a world leader in green energy. And, around a quarter of houses have installed rooftop solar panels in South Australia. Apart from this, it is also the largest producer of wind energy in Australia.