Climate love
Image of University of Cambridge

University of Cambridge

Climate love

Solar-powered device produces clean water and clean fuel at the same time

Researchers at the University of Cambridge have developed a floating, solar-powered device that can turn contaminated water or seawater into clean hydrogen fuel and purified water. The device works with any open water source and does not require any outside power, making it ideal for use in resource-limited or off-grid environments.
The device is inspired by photosynthesis, the process by which plants convert sunlight into food. However, unlike earlier versions of the "artificial leaf," which could only produce green hydrogen fuel from clean water sources, this new device can operate from polluted or seawater sources and can produce clean drinking water at the same time.
The device works by using a photocatalyst to break water molecules down into hydrogen and oxygen. The photocatalyst is deposited on a nanostructured carbon mesh that is a good absorber of both light and heat. The carbon mesh also helps the photocatalyst float and keeps it away from the water below, so that contaminants do not interfere with its functionality.
The device also uses a white, UV-absorbing layer to capture more of the Sun's energy. This layer allows the device to make use of the entire solar spectrum, rather than just a small portion of it.
The researchers tested the device on a variety of water sources, including polluted water, seawater, and even the River Cam in central Cambridge. The device was able to produce clean water from all of these sources.
The device has the potential to address the energy and water crises facing many parts of the world. For example, cooking with green hydrogen instead of "dirty" fuels could help reduce indoor air pollution, which is responsible for more than three million deaths annually. And the device could also provide safe drinking water to the 1.8 billion people worldwide who still lack it.
The research was supported by the European Commission's Horizon 2020 programme, The European Research Council, the Cambridge Trust, the Petronas Education Sponsorship Programme, and the Winton Programme for the Physics of Sustainability.




Do you agree?

24 more agrees trigger contact with the recipient

  • CHRIS NGATIA

    27 w

    Such great initiatives need support

    1
    • Fabio Grohovaz

      28 w

      Interesting solution… already available on the market ?

      2
      • Esther Wanjiku

        28 w

        this is an amazing solution

        4
      • Sarah Chabane

        28 w

        Pretty interesting solution!

        3
        • Saustine Lusanzu

          28 w

          We must support such initiatives

          2
          • mercy nduta

            29 w

            We must support great innovations for the steady efforts to mitigate climate change.

            4
            • Saustine Lusanzu

              28 w

              @mercy_nduta_984 More financial aid are needed

              2
            • Princess

              29 w

              Such an innovative solution.

              6
              • Tabitha Kimani

                29 w

                Amazing !. This is a technology that needs to be scaled up since it can be employed everywhere in the world.

                4
              • Elizabeth Gathigia

                29 w

                Great innovation that brings a positive change in the environment is very much welcomed

                4
              • Gorffly mokua

                29 w

                This is great! lt showcases the potential for integrated solutions in tackling pressing environmental issues, contributing significantly to a cleaner & more sustainable future.

                4
              • rosebellendiritu

                29 w

                This is so great that great minds are innovating things and are venturing into projects that are very sustainable and are bringing very positive change to our planet.

                12
              • Rukia Ahmed Abdi

                29 w

                The University of Cambridge has developed a groundbreaking solar-powered device that not only converts contaminated water or seawater into clean hydrogen fuel but also produces purified water simultaneously. Inspired by photosynthesis, this innovative device uses a nanostructured carbon mesh to host a photocatalyst, breaking water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen. Unlike previous versions, it operates in polluted water sources and captures the entire solar spectrum, making it versatile for various environments. The potential impact is significant, addressing both energy and water crises globally, with applications ranging from reducing indoor air pollution to providing safe drinking water for the 1.8 billion people still lacking access. This development offers a promising solution to pressing challenges and represents a step forward in sustainable technology.

                4
                • Princess

                  29 w

                  @rukia_ahmed_abdi thanks to the University of Cambridge

                  4
                • Rotich Kim

                  29 w

                  This is true researchers have go extra mile to give out the actual fact about green energy

                  12
                  • Princess

                    29 w

                    @rotich_kim this truly remarkable 👏.

                    4
                  Welcome, let's solve the climate crisis together
                  Post youtube preview with preloading
                  youtube overlay

                  Write or agree to climate reviews to make businesses and world leaders act. It’s easy and it works.

                  Write a climate review

                  Voice your opinion on how businesses and organizations impact the climate.
                  0 trees planted

                  One tree is planted for every climate review written to an organization that is Open for Climate Dialogue™.

                  Download the app

                  We plant a tree for every new user.

                  AppleAndroid