A small innovation might have a giant impact on pollution. In Belgium, researchers have designed a tool that uses daylight to purify contaminated air and generate hydrogen gas which will be hold on and used for generating power.

Researchers are worked in two teams for years, one on the process of purification and other on producing hydrogen gas. At the University of Urban Center, the scientists had been testing other ways of merging sunlight with nanomaterials for the purification of air. At the University of Leuven, another team had been performing on a small electric cell with a membrane that might generate hydrogen gas from water. Now, these two groups have incorporated their experience to form this latest device that might purify polluted air and generate energy at a similar time.

The researchers are working on the air contaminated with volatile organic compounds (VOCs), molecules which are small in size produced from various chemicals used in furnishings, machines, cleansing fluids, upholstery and adhesives. These compounds in decent concentrations, causes severe eye irritation, headaches, nausea, dizziness and respiratory disorders. The small molecules may be found within the air of buildings that aren’t well-ventilated which will result will result in a sickness known as the “Sick Building Syndrome”.

The paradigm cell could be a in a square shape with an energetic space that measures regarding 1 cm by one cm. At one aspect of the device, a tube delivers contaminated air into the cell.  Sunlight enters through a clear window that covers a film coated with a light-activated catalyst. Once contaminated air and sunlight meet at the film, the catalyst tears apart the little organic molecules that produce protons which are collected on the other side of the film. The platinum catalyst placed on the film converts these protons to hydrogen gas. In the intervening time the purified air will be sent out through the other tube.

Researchers were able to purify the contaminated air and produce gas from a spread of organic compounds as well as fuel, grain alcohol and carboxylic acid. They were planning to start researches with aldehyde, a liquid utilized to produce carboxylic acid and perfumes.

The hydrogen gas generated can be accustomed to glow the lights or alternative machines in various industries. They were succeeded in producing the hydrogen gas but did not plan to store the gas, which will be completed in future research. Currently, the membrane responds to UV rays produced by the sun, that is merely 4% to 5% of the energy band. This would be definitely a worthy process as the paradigm cell is able to perform two processes by using the sunlight which is a renewable source of energy.


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