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Emerging Materials:  Water Splitting Solar Paint

 

Building, renovating or designing? How about transforming your roof or walls into energy producing surfaces? [1] [2] This has been made possible by researchers at Melbourne’s RMIT University This new form of solar paint can be applied to almost any surface [3] [4] and is far more cost effective than installing and maintaining solar panels.

 

1497581777034.jpgDr Kourosh Kalantar-Zadeh and Dr Torben Daeneke (RMIT) Developers of solar paint [10]

 

Solar paint

Solar paint combines two components: a new material - synthetic molybdenum sulphide - which is capable of absorbing moisture from humid air, and titanium dioxide, which absorbs sunlight [3]When sunlight hits the paint, water molecules present in the atmosphere are split into hydrogen and oxygen, and hydrogen is harvested as an energy source[4] [5]. 

Hydrogen is regarded as the cleanest source of energy. [5] When burnt, it generates electricity and is a zero emission fuel (unless you consider water as an emission!) [6] [7]. This breakthrough has the potential to change how we consume energy on a large scale [1], as hydrogen fuel can be used in fuel cells, combustion engines and as an alternative to fossil fuels [6]. 

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Sustainable paint for your projects 

 

Why is solar paint more advantageous than other alternatives?

The simplicity of the fuel production process, its wide application and affordability [5] are major factors as to why this new form of solar paint could be a game changer. The paint can be coated on almost any surface [3] [4], making it an energy-harvesting and fuel-producing surface [5].

Another attractive feature is its adaptability to a range of climates. “Any place with water vapour in the air – even remotes areas far from water – can produce fuel” [3], and because solar paint doesn’t require any external power source to function, the future may be far closer than it seems [6]. 

The RMIT researchers hope to see the paint incorporated on residential and commercial buildings in the very near future [4]. 

  

 

Our passion at Certified Energy is reducing our collective environmental footprint, and solar paint is an extraordinary material that can produce clean, usable energy from a previously unimaginable source. It is this type of innovation that keeps driving us forward and we are excited to see where discoveries like this new form of solar paint can take us. 

Certified Energy are experts in ESD consulting and are qualified to assess projects for their suitability under rating schemes including Green Star, ISCA, WELL and LEED.

To find out more

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Resources:

[1] G. Shen, "Solar Paint from TiO2 Particles Supported Quantum Dots for Photoanodes in Quantum Dot–Sensitized Solar Cells," ACS Omega, vol. 3, no. 1, pp. 1102-1109, 2018. http://pubs.acs.org/doi/full/10.1021/acsomega.7b01761 
[2] P. C. Dastoor, "Solar paint: Harvesting light," Nature Photonics, vol. 7, 6 2013. https://www.nature.com/articles/nphoton.2013.130 
[3] H. K. Jun, "Quantum dot-sensitized solar cells—perspective and recent developments: A review of Cd chalcogenide quantum dots as sensitizers," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, vol. 22, pp. 148-167, 6 2013. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1364032113000610 
[4] A. A. Muhammad, "Revival of Solar Paint Concept: Air-Processable Solar Paints for the Fabrication of Quantum Dot-Sensitized Solar Cells," The Journal of Physical Chemical, vol. 121, no. 33, p. 17658–17670, 2017. http://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.jpcc.7b05207
[5] M. P. Genovese, "Sun-Believable Solar Paint. A Transformative One-Step Approach for Designing Nanocrystalline Solar Cells," ACS NANO, vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 865-872, 2012. 
http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/nn204381g 
[6] S. A. Agarkar , "Dye sensitized solar cell (DSSC) by a novel fully room temperature process: a solar paint for smart windows and flexible substrates," Royal Society of Chemistry, vol. 2, pp. 11645-11649, 17 9 2012. http://pubs.rsc.org/-/content/articlehtml/2012/ra/c2ra22182a
[8] N. Canter, "Solar paint," Tribology & Lubrication Technology;, 
vol. 68, no. 4, pp. 12-13, 8 2012.
[9] G. Ondrey, "SOLAR PAINT," Chemical Engineering, vol. 124, no. 8, p. 8, 8 2017.
[10] T. Daeneke, "Surface Water Dependent Properties of Sulfur-Rich Molybdenum Sulfides: Electrolyteless Gas Phase Water Splitting," ACS NANO, vol. 11, no. 7, p. 6782–6794, 2017. https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acsnano.7b01632 
[11] G. Connery , "Solar paint prototype to offer endless energy from water vapour," 2017 16 2017. [Online]. Available: http://www.smh.com.au/technology/sci-tech/solar-paint-prototype-to-offer-endless-energy-from-water-vapour-20170612-gwpnoq.html . [Accessed 2018 2 6].
[12]US Department of Energy, "Hydrogen Production and Distribution," 11 7 2017. [Online]. Available: https://www.afdc.energy.gov/fuels/hydrogen_production.html . [Accessed 18 2 6].
[13]US Department of Energy, "Hydrogen Benefits and Considerations," 11 7 11. [Online]. Available: https://www.afdc.energy.gov/fuels/hydrogen_benefits.html . [Accessed 18 2 6].