Making Oxygen Obvious
Break water molecules under the right conditions and you get two gases: hydrogen and oxygen. Add that hydrogen to fuel cells to get energy for your computer, home, and car. With water, the challenge is knowing if it actually split, which takes intricate, often-invisible reactions. At the Center for Solar Fuels, scientists found a way to detect the breakup. The team’s device, called a collector-generator cell, uses two electrodes. One splits the water; the other detects the resulting oxygen. The device is precise, reliable, and easy to use. It provides data that could lead to fuel cells playing a larger role on the world’s energy stage. The University of North Carolina led the research; the U.S. Department of Energy funded it through an Energy Frontier Research Center.
Sherman BD, MV Sheridan, KR Wee, N Song, CJ Dares, Z Fang, Y Tamaki, A Nayak, and TJ Meyer. 2016. “Analysis of Homogeneous Water Oxidation Catalysis with Collector-Generator Cells.” Inorganic Chemistry 55(2):512-517. DOI: 10.1021/acs.inorgchem.5b02182
Sherman BD, MV Sheridan, CJ Dares, and TJ Meyer. 2016. “Two Electrode Collector-Generator Method for the Detection of Electrochemically or Photoelectrochemically Produced O2.” Analytical Chemistry 88(14):7076-7082. DOI: 10.1021/acs.analchem.6b00738