Nav: Home

Light energy and biomass can be converted to diesel fuel and hydrogen

June 10, 2019

Scientists recently developed a method to produce diesel fuel and hydrogen by exploiting light energy (solar energy or artificial light energy) and biomass-derived feedstocks. Their findings were published in Nature Energy.

Biomass, including agricultural straw and forest waste, is the largest source of sustainable carbon resources in nature and is able to replace petrochemical resources to provide abundant derivative products. As an alternative to photocatalytic water splitting to provide hydrogen, splitting of biomass or its derivatives usually yields higher light transformation efficiencies and higher rates of hydrogen production.

Nevertheless, oxidative products derived from biomass are mostly useless, causing waste of sustainable biomass resources and environmental pollution. Therefore, developing technologies that merge hydrogen production and biomass conversion into value-added chemicals or fuels is expected to bring about a "double guarantee" of materials and energy for industrial manufacture and daily life.

Prof. WANG Feng and his group at the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences developed a process for using light energy to drive the valorization of downstream biomass products, namely methyl furan compounds, to produce hydrogen and diesel fuel precursors simultaneously.

The reactions were carried out at room temperature and pressure, and produced hydrogen and diesel fuel precursors that are constituted by isomeric oxygenates with variety of carbon numbers typical of diesel fuel. Removal of the oxygen contents from the diesel fuel precursors produced sustainable diesel fuels with components close to current petroleum diesel; hydrogen could be used to remove the oxygen from the diesel fuel precursors or be used alone.

This process realizes the directional transformation of light energy and biomass to hydrogen energy and diesel fuels, and provides a way to produce clean energy using solar energy and sustainable carbon sources present on the earth's surface.
-end-


Chinese Academy of Sciences Headquarters

Related Hydrogen Articles:

Paving the way for hydrogen fuel cells
The hype around hydrogen fuel cells has died down, but scientists have continued to pursue new technologies that could enable such devices to gain a firmer foothold.
Keeping the hydrogen coming
A coating of molybdenum improves the efficiency of catalysts for producing hydrogen.
Hydrogen bonds directly detected for the first time
For the first time, scientists have succeeded in studying the strength of hydrogen bonds in a single molecule using an atomic force microscope.
Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen
Hydrogen is both the simplest and the most-abundant element in the universe, so studying it can teach scientists about the essence of matter.
Metallic hydrogen, once theory, becomes reality
Nearly a century after it was theorized, Harvard scientists have succeeded in creating metallic hydrogen.
From theory to reality: The creation of metallic hydrogen
For more than 80 years, it has been predicted that hydrogen will adopt metallic properties under certain conditions, and now researchers have successfully demonstrated this phenomenon.
Artificial leaf goes more efficient for hydrogen generation
A new study, affiliated with Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology has introduced a new artificial leaf that generates hydrogen, using the power of the Sun to mimic underwater photosynthesis.
Hydrogen from sunlight -- but as a dark reaction
The storage of photogenerated electric energy and its release on demand are still among the main obstacles in artificial photosynthesis.
New process produces hydrogen at much lower temperature
Waseda University researchers have developed a new method for producing hydrogen, which is fast, irreversible, and takes place at much lower temperature using less energy.
Hydrogen in your pocket? New plastic for carrying and storing hydrogen
A Waseda University research group has developed a polymer which can store hydrogen in a light, compact and flexible sheet, and is safe to touch even when filled with hydrogen gas.

Related Hydrogen Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Digital Manipulation
Technology has reshaped our lives in amazing ways. But at what cost? This hour, TED speakers reveal how what we see, read, believe — even how we vote — can be manipulated by the technology we use. Guests include journalist Carole Cadwalladr, consumer advocate Finn Myrstad, writer and marketing professor Scott Galloway, behavioral designer Nir Eyal, and computer graphics researcher Doug Roble.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#530 Why Aren't We Dead Yet?
We only notice our immune systems when they aren't working properly, or when they're under attack. How does our immune system understand what bits of us are us, and what bits are invading germs and viruses? How different are human immune systems from the immune systems of other creatures? And is the immune system so often the target of sketchy medical advice? Those questions and more, this week in our conversation with author Idan Ben-Barak about his book "Why Aren't We Dead Yet?: The Survivor’s Guide to the Immune System".