Solar Paint: Hydrogen Generator

Paint is a commonly used material in construction and renovations. But apart from its aesthetic function, there could be other unexpected function that it could deliver if we make some changes to its chemical composition.

Two professors from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology invented a solar paint that could utilize solar energy and turn water vapor into hydrogen. The magic behind is mixing the compound of synthetic molybdenum-sulfide to titanium oxide, which the latter is a commonly used material in ordinary paint. The compound acts like a catalyst, when water vapor in the air is in contact with the paint under sunlight, it will be splitted into hydrogen and oxygen molecules. Hydrogen can then be collected and used in fuel cells or for powering vehicles.

Being named one of the cleanest sources of energy in the world, the energy efficiency of hydrogen is very high with no air pollutant emitted when it burns, unlike other often used fuels. Water is the sole discharge when the gas is burned. There could be a widespread application of such technology to even areas with insufficient sunlight for solar panels and regions that are dry but hot. The other advantageous element would be the flexibility of design in which the paint could be applied on almost anywhere! Be it on your car, walls, or fences.  By now, the paint is yet to be widely available as it requires further experimentation for mass production and cheaper costs.

In one of our previous innovation stories, Germany has put forth the world’s first hydrogen powered commuter train.  Imagine if there could be a cooperation between the solar paint and the commuter train, using while generating sources for energy. There could a high possibility for us to exert the potentials of renewable and green power!  Let’s ‘paint’ a better future!