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Solar energy is nothing new, but it has its limits. If researchers Feng Jiao, associate director of the University of Delaware’s Center for Catalytic Science and Technology, and Bingjun Xu, an assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, are successful, however, sunlight would create more than just electricity.
UDaily reports that Jiao and Xu have received a $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation.
“If successful, this technology could provide the community a green, sustainable way to produce chemicals and fuels without using any fossil source,” Jiao told the university comms outlet.
A preliminary research seed grant from was awarded by the Delaware Energy Institute.
In collaboration with researchers at Tianjin University in China, Jiao and Xu are designing a system that could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by using carbon-neutral solar electricity. Their system will utilize electrolysis, a process that utilizes electric current to spur a chemical reaction, to convert carbon dioxide and water to liquid carbon-based fuels such as ethane and propane. They will use copper as a catalyst to speed up their chemical reactions.
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