Mark Boyer

Scientists Develop Wonder Nanomaterial that Can Produce Energy, Clean Water and Hydrogen

by , 03/24/13

Darren Sun, TiO2, Multi-use Titanium Dioxide, hydrogen, solar cell, nanomaterial

Researchers in Singapore have developed a new nanomaterial that functions like the best Swiss army knife in the world. The material, known as Multi-use Titanium Dioxide (TiO2), can produce energy, it can generate hydrogen, and it can even produce clean water. But that’s not all: The remarkable material can also be formed into flexible solar cells and it can double the lifespan of lithium-ion batteries. And with bacteria-killing properties, it can also be used in new antibacterial bandages.

Darren Sun, TiO2, Multi-use Titanium Dioxide, hydrogen, solar cell, nanomaterial

The new material, which is being developed by scientists at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University, is made by turning titanium dioxide crystals into nanofibers, which can then be formed into flexible filter membranes. The special material at the center of it all is titanium dioxide, which is cheap and abundant and has the ability to accelerate chemical reactions and can bond easily with water.

Because it can bond with water, the material can potentially serve as a high-flux forward osmosis membrane and desalinate water. But that’s just one of its many remarkable features. In addition to producing clean water, the material can also produce hydrogen when exposed to sunlight, according to the researchers. And it can also be formed into an inexpensive, flexible solar cell that can be used to generate electricity.

“While there is no single silver bullet to solving two of the world’s biggest challenges: cheap renewable energy and an abundant supply of clean water; our single multi-use membrane comes close, with its titanium dioxide nanoparticles being a key catalyst in discovering such solutions,” said lead researcher Darren Sun. “With our unique nanomaterial, we hope to be able to help convert today’s waste into tomorrow’s resources, such as clean water and energy.”

+ Nanyang Technological University

Via PhysOrg

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5 Comments

  1. ksunil_w March 31, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    CAN THIS TITANIUM DIOXIDE BE USED IN THE LARGE SCALE MANUFACTURING OF FLEXIBLE SOLAR CELLS THEN KINDLY ASSIST US IS SETTING UP THE INDUSTRY HERE IN INDIA SO THAT WE CAN REDUCE THE OVERALL SOLAR PANEL COST TO MAKE IT EASILY AVIALABLE TO THE NEEDY AND POOR OF THE WORLD KINDLY ADVISE FOR THE SAME IF THIS CAN BE DONE
    WITH KIND REGARDS

    SUUNIL
    krishsunil_w@rediffmail.com
    skype:suunil.wagh30
    91-0-9867059847

  2. bennyh March 25, 2013 at 12:21 am

    If this can be used to cheaply desalinate water, it will be a huge game changer for most of the world. Awesome.

  3. ltp March 21, 2013 at 10:25 pm

    Maybe this development should be included in any energy and global policies formulated by USA politicians.

    Imagine filling-up at a pump knowing no matter HOW energy inefficient your vehicle (or home) – no one will die, be crippled or run out of their home to get at the base feedstock to make your fuel.

    Imagine no more illness from exposure to toxic raw petroleum and its by-products.

    Imagine potable water becoming available to all (world-wide) for personal, industrial, recreation and agricultural uses.

    All things are possible with time, good intent and mutual benefit.

  4. slagar March 20, 2013 at 11:05 pm

    The problem with creating more energy, is that it signals society to consume more energy.
    We need to reduce consumption and develop sustainable societies, not miracle cures that dig us even further into our anthropocentric technophiliac hole.

  5. 2ndGreenRevolutionBlog March 20, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    A distant, yet possible application to produce hydrogen for fuel cells?

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