Solar fuels

Solar fuels

Solar fuels

12/30/16

“How can we turn solar energy into fuel?”

 

If humanity wants to survive in the not too distant future, then it must become more reliant on renewable technologies such as solar energy. However, one serious drawback to solar energy when compared to traditional fuel sources is what I like to call its nature-dependent nature, or the fact we can not generate solar power at our will, we need an extraneous phenomenon (the sun being present) to do so. This has lead researchers all over the world to dedicate their careers to building new ways of storing solar energy for later use. One new method of doing so has the potential to seriously challenge traditional fuel source by imitating photosynthesis. This method works by using simple chemistry. Hydrogen gas [H2] and carbon monoxide [CO] can be combined together to create fuel sources. The sun can also be used to change water[H2O] and carbon dioxide [CO2] into hydrogen gas and carbon monoxide. Now let’s put this knowledge into practice. First, let’s build a space containing water and carbon dioxide. Then, let’s use concentrated sunlight to heat up these compounds until they lose their oxygen atoms and become hydrogen gas and carbon monoxide. We can then combine these two chemicals to create a new fuel, solar fuels. Solar fuels relieve stress from the grid and allow for simple integration and consumption any sort of machine, whether it be a small motorcycle or a titanic aircraft carrier.

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