Monday, July 01, 2019

Bionic catalysts to produce clean energy

A biohybrid material that combines reduced graphene oxide with bacterial cells offers an eco-friendly option to help store renewable energy.


​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.

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Image: Microbes and nanomaterials can be combined to create a biohybrid material that may have broad environmental applications.
© 2019 KAUST Xavier Pita

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