A group of scientists from the United States has created a solar module that can generate electricity and produce hydrogen simultaneously


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Employees of the Lawrence Berkeley laboratory (USA) jointly with German colleagues were able to discover an innovative technology in the field of solar energy. According to the engineers themselves, their invention is capable of creating a sensation in the field of “green” energy.

The solar panel of American inventors is capable of producing electricity due to the photovoltaic processes occurring in it and at the same time producing hydrogen. Hydrogen compounds are obtained by splitting water molecules.

The entire scientific world community has long puzzled over the process of photosynthesis, making attempts to reproduce it in artificial conditions. It is a well-known fact that during photosynthesis, the sun’s rays trigger chemical processes that allow hydrogen to be produced from water.

In the development of many world laboratories there are technologies that recreate photosynthesis. Only about the commercial application of these developments is not necessary to speak. The whole problem lies in the fact that artificial photosynthesis often requires an auxiliary source of energy. The very idea of ​​using solar energy to power the electrolyzer during the processing of water to the state of hydrogen is now being actively developed and embodied in reality all over the world.

The result of the work of inventors from the United States embodied in an innovative device that can simultaneously generate two types of energy. The solar panel uses a silicon-based photovoltaic cell for operation.

“Hybrid photo electrochemical and photovoltaic cells for the simultaneous production of chemical fuels and power generation” is the full name of the invention. The scheme of the device and its technical characteristics are reflected in the article for the publication Nature Materials.

The inventors claim that their device has the ability to absorb more than 20 percent of the sun’s rays. The efficiency indicators of the panel in the production of hydrogen compounds are almost 7 percent, and in the generation of electricity – more than 13 percent.

Modern solar energy in terms of artificial photosynthesis is faced with the problem of limiting the amount of silicon photocell generation. This was due to the poor performance of other elements. The representative of the US development team Gideon Segev said that this problem is comparable with the movement of cars at 1st speed. Electricity was generated in a much larger volume, but due to the placement of the silicon element not in the place of maximum power, the electrons in the excited state did not have the opportunity to exit. The loss of energy charge by electrons occurred even before their useful effect began.

The inventors came to the solution of this issue through the installation of an additional electrode. It is located on the back of the silicon component. As a result, one contact began to regulate the production of hydrogen compounds, and the second – to collect electricity.

This technology can be implemented in architecture for building energy. In addition, electric vehicles can make a huge leap in productivity through the use of this design.


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