Mixing microbes with carbon nanomaterials could help the transition to renewable energy. KAUST research shows microbes and nanomaterials can be used together to form a biohybrid material that performs well as an electrocatalyst. The material could be used in the solar-powered production of carbon-free fuels and several other green-energy applications.
At the heart of many clean energy technologies is a process called the oxygen-evolution reaction (OER). In the case of solar-fuel production, for example, the OER enables the use of solar electricity to split water molecules into oxygen and hydrogen, producing clean hydrogen that can be used as a fuel. Currently, rare and expensive metals are used as OER electrocatalysts. But graphene-based biohybrid materials could make an inexpensive, eco-friendly alternative, Pascal Saikaly and his team have shown.
Image: Microbes and nanomaterials can be combined to create a biohybrid material that may have broad environmental applications.
© 2019 KAUST Xavier Pita