ISBN 9781849730341,Molecular Solar Fuels

Molecular Solar Fuels



Royal Society of Chemistry

Publication Year 2011

ISBN 9781849730341

ISBN-10 1849730342

Hard Back

Number of Pages 576 Pages
Language (English)


World demand for energy is rapidly increasing and is projected to more than double by the year 2050. Finding sufficient supplies of clean energy for the future is one of the major scientific challenges of today. Sunlight accounts for the largest energy input into the earth's surface, providing more energy in one hour than all of the energy consumed by the entire planet in one year. Over more than 2 billion years, plants, algae and cyanobacteria have evolved the most efficient methods to utilize solar energy, by catalyzing the light-driven splitting of water into molecular oxygen, protons and electrons. If the released protons are captured and reduced to molecular hydrogen by a suitable hyrodrogenase enzyme, then a perfect fuel cycle can be achieved, since the combustion of hydrogen with oxygen produces only water. In the search for clean, energy-rich fuel sources, we can take advantage of the natural photosynthetic and hydrogenase systems by applying and adapting the energy conserving principles that Nature has evolved in these systems and use them to guide the development of synthetic photo- and reductive catalysts for solar energy utilization. The US Department of Energy Basic Sciences Workshops in 2005 on 'Solar Energy Utilization' and in 2007 on 'Catalysis for Energy' identified the development of solar fuels as a key, carbon-neutral, energy resource for the future and hydrogen is one such promising example. The energy released from the combustion of hydrogen with oxygen can be coupled to electrical current generation or the reduction of carbon compounds such as carbon dioxide. If hydrogen could be readily produced from water using solar energy, then an ideal fuel cycle would be possible.

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