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The Future of Solar-Fueled Cars
(Sunday, 19 March 2017) Written by greeniac12314
Researchers have been working on a way to develop solar-fueled vehicles. The process of creating solar fuels, rather than relying on renewable batteries to power electric cars, involves exposing water molecules to sunlight and breaking them down into hydrogen and oxygen atoms, which can then be converted into hydrocarbon fuels.

Scientists from the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and California Institute of Technology believe they may have found a way to do this. John Gregoire, principal investigator, says, “Electric cars with batteries are currently desirable because we have renewable ways of generating the electricity. With this renewable technology for generating fuel directly, you could have a bigger impact on renewable energy infrastructure.”

However, the process of creating solar fuel requires a photoanode. Gregoire explains, “The job of the photoanode is to absorb sunlight and then use that energy to oxidize water — essentially splitting apart the H2O molecule and rearranging the atoms to form a fuel. And because this photoanode material needs to have the right sunlight absorption and catalytic properties, they're very rare.” In fact, in the last 40 years, scientists have only found 16 of them.

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