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A new solar panel technology will produce hydrogen gas along with electricity during the day, that will power fuel cells at night.

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One of the major problems with solar panels is, they can’t produce electricity during the night. That means, a solar photovoltaic plant works only for 12 hours on average per day. Scientists have a solution now. Solar panels can now produce electricity, indirectly, at night, without sunlight. A new solar panel technology will produce hydrogen gas along with electricity during the day, that will power fuel cells at night. That means, smooth generation of electricity 24-hour a day.


Structure Of The Nanocrystal

It has been found that light absorbing materials that convert the sunlight into electricity in solar based devices/machines are not durable. Sometimes the materials that harvest solar radiation for energy gets overheated or become futile. But, Dr. Mikhail Zamkov of Ohio’s Bowling Green State University and his team have used two inorganic synthetic nanocrystals to make the solar panels (to be more specific – the batteries) more durable as well as capable of producing hydrogen gas. The rod-shaped synthetic nano-crystal produces hydrogen by photo catalysis (when the solar panel is submerged). The synthetic nano-crystal produces electricity from the sun-light. As the nanocrystals are inorganic, so they are easier to recharge and less sensitive to heat than their organic counterparts.

The researchers wrote in the Applied Physics section of JoVE, The Journal of Visualized Experiments that “the nanocrystals are unique for two reasons: they separate charge in different ways due to their architectures, and they are inorganic and durable. The first nanocrystal is rod-shaped, which allows the charge separation needed to produce hydrogen gas, a reaction known as photocatalysis. The second nanocrystal is composed of stacked layers and generates electricity, thus being photovoltaic. The main advantage of this technique is that it allows for direct, all inorganic coupling of the light absorber and the catalyst.”

Undoubtedly, the two new types of nanocrystals have the ability to replace the traditional organic molecules in a solar panel’s construction. At present, the new solar technology is at the research stage. The researchers believe that this new technology can be mass-produced. They also think that the technology could be a great alternative to current solar energy gathering methods.

Source : The Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE)

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