Researchers at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology are developing a solar paint – containing titanium dioxide – that can generate hydrogen, a clean energy source.
RMIT University said the new compound acts like silica gel, but the new material – synthetic molybdenum-sulphide – also acts as a semi-conductor and catalyses the splitting of water atoms into hydrogen and oxygen.
RMIT lead researcher Dr Torben Daeneke said: “We found that mixing the compound with titanium oxide particles leads to a sunlight-absorbing paint that produces hydrogen fuel from solar energy and moist air.
“Titanium oxide is the white pigment that is already commonly used in wall paint, meaning that the simple addition of the new material can convert a brick wall into energy harvesting and fuel production real estate.”
Titanium dioxide (TiO2) both absorbs UV light and also has a very high refractive index, meaning that it scatters light. These properties mean that is a crucial ingredient in a wide number of applications.
The fact that TiO2 can also show photocatalytic activity under UV light mean researchers are exploring a number of new uses and applications, including clean energy production.
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