Scientists based in Canada have developed a new technique for converting electricity into chemical energy. This could lead to improvements to the way that homeowners and businesses capture and re-use solar power.
Researchers based at the University of Calgary, Curtis Berlinguette and Simon Trudel, have developed an innovative way to make new affordable and efficient catalysts for capturing solar power.
The innovation, as detailed in the research brief, is a new type of electrolyzer device that uses catalysts to start a chemical reaction that converts electricity into chemical energy by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen fuels. These fuels can then be stored and re-converted to electricity for future use.
Key to the new method is the catalyst, the Technology Review notes,which the researchers report is faster, more efficient, and most importantly, cheaper than anything else available.
The technological breakthrough offers a relatively cheaper method of storing and reusing electricity produced by wind turbines and solar panels. The technology is set to be commercialized through a new start-up company called FireWater Fuel Corp.
FireWater Fuel Corp. expects to have a commercial product in the current large-scale electrolyzer market in 2014, and a prototype electrolyzer -- using their new catalysts -- ready by 2015 for testing in a home.
The findings have been reported in the journal [i]Science[/i].