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Research News: Renewable energy sources: All-in-one light-driven water splitting

Research News: Large wind and solar farms in the Sahara would increase heat, rain, vegetation

Research News: Scientists pioneer a new way to turn sunlight into fuel

Solar-powered water splitting is a promising means of generating clean and storable energy. A novel catalyst based on semiconductor nanoparticles has now been shown to facilitate all the reactions needed for 'artificial photosynthesis'.

In the light of global climate change, there is an urgent need to develop efficient ways of obtaining and storing power from renewable energy sources. The photocatalytic splitting of water into hydrogen fuel and oxygen provides a particularly attractive approach in this context. However, efficient implementation of this process, which mimics biological photosynthesis, is technically very challenging, since it involves a combination of processes that can interfere with each other.

Solar-powered water splitting. (stock image)
Credit: © James Steidl / Fotolia
Posted: 2018-09-12
 
Wind and solar farms are known to have local effects on heat, humidity and other factors that may be beneficial -- or detrimental -- to the regions in which they are situated. A new climate-modeling study finds that a massive wind and solar installation in the Sahara Desert and neighboring Sahel would increase local temperature, precipitation and vegetation. Overall, the researchers report, the effects would likely benefit the region.

The study, reported in the journal Science, is among the first to model the climate effects of wind and solar installations while taking into account how vegetation responds to changes in heat and precipitation, said lead author Yan Li, a postdoctoral researcher in natural resources and environmental sciences at the University of Illinois.

Large-scale wind and solar installations in the Sahara would increase precipitation, a new study finds.
Credit: Map by Eviatar Bach CC BY 4.0
Posted: 2018-09-12
 
The quest to find new ways to harness solar power has taken a step forward after researchers successfully split water into hydrogen and oxygen by altering the photosynthetic machinery in plants.

Photosynthesis is the process plants use to convert sunlight into energy. Oxygen is produced as by-product of photosynthesis when the water absorbed by plants is 'split'. It is one of the most important reactions on the planet because it is the source of nearly all of the world's oxygen. Hydrogen which is produced when the water is split could potentially be a green and unlimited source of renewable energy.

Experimental two-electrode setup showing the photoelectrochemical cell illuminated with simulated solar light.
Credit: Katarzyna Sokól
 
Posted: 2018-09-12
 
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