Society has evolved significantly thanks to groundbreaking inventions, although sometimes they have entailed some negative effects, like pollution. However, now that our society has a more developed economy and more advanced technology, we should try to fix those problems.
Pollution is one of the more concerning issues in our days. The environment has had to bear the brunt of our innovations. The scientific community is trying to fix what we have done and today we bring you one example of these attempts.
Purifying Air through Solar Energy
A group of researcher from the University of Antwerp and from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KU Leuven) has developed a small air purifier device that produces hydrogen gas, both processes at the same time and only using solar energy. This is very important because this means that there is a use for the pollution, and what it is more, it can be transformed into a clean and storable energy.
The researchers discovered that, instead of using clean water, they can produce hydrogen gas with polluted air. The more the air is polluted, the more the hydrogen gas that can be produced. This made this device perfect to be located in factories, where the air is more polluted. To work, it is enough to expose it to the sunlight.
It relies on a process called ‘heterogeneous photocatalysis’, which uses light and a special catalyst to trigger a chemical reaction. The device is able to separate the molecules of water from the polluted air through a membrane placed in the middle of the device. Firstly, a component made of a nanomaterial that reacts to the sunlight changes the organic molecules into a less harmful compound. Secondly, the membrane separates the hydrogen from the molecules. According to the researchers, this membrane is the most important part of the device, which uses different nanomaterials as catalysts.
Currently, the device is still too small but they are working now on a large scale technology.
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