OSU Scientists Can Turn Sunlight Into Hydrogen

Researchers at OSU have developed a potentially world changing molecule—one that absorbs sunlight efficiently. But not only that, one that itself can be a catalyst to turn photons into hydrogen (a clean alternative to fossil fuels).

The new molecule absorbs energy from the all of the visible spectrum. Additionally it collects fifty percent more energy than current solar cells. Discoveries like these could lead the transition from fossil fuels to sustainable energy that don’t contribute to climate change.

Essentially, the scientists have found a very efficient way to store solar energy—the molecule takes photons (energy molecules from the sun) and stores it in the chemical bonds of hydrogen to be used at a later date. Hydrogen is a clean burning fuel that produces no carbon or carbon dioxide.

The system researchers created enables the molecule to be put in a excited state where it absorbs photons (even from the low-energy infrared, which had before been difficult to collect energy from) and is able to store two electrons to make hydrogen. Being able to store two photons and two electrons to make hydrogen is unprecedented.

The findings were published in “Nature Chemistry”.