Imagine if the deep sea oil rigs—like those responsible for the 2010 Gulf oil spill—were replaced with floating solar cells. Scientists have now developed a prototype of such a device—dubbed a solar fuels rig—that uses sunlight and water to create fuel.
Hydrogen fuel, which these cells make, is often produced from natural gas, and it releases carbon dioxide—the key greenhouse gas that is causing climate change. Hydrogen fuel is currently used to propel rockets in NASA’s space program and could play a role in a sustainable future. This device built by Columbia University researchers could create it without the damaging greenhouse gas emissions and without taking up land space or using freshwater as well.
This design has the potential to be low cost and have high durability, said Daniel Esposito, senior author and chemical engineering professor at Columbia.
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