Kyushu University announced Oct 5, 2017, that it has developed a catalyst for integrating a fuel cell and solar cell in collaboration with Tanaka Kikinzoku Kogyo KK (Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo).
It is a new catalyst that realizes both the function of natural hydrogenase and a high rigidity function. It can drive a fuel cell by using hydrogen as an energy source and a solar cell by using water and light.
This time, Kyushu University newly developed an electrode that consists of (1) a fuel cell anode designed based on hydrogenase (an electrode from which electrons flow out to an external circuit), (2) solar cell anode designed based on photosynthesis (photosystem II) and (3) common cathode designed based on respiration (cytochrome c oxidase) (an electrode into which electrons flow from an external circuit).
The electrode is expected to realize a cell that functions like hydrogenase, which uses hydrogen as an atomic source, when there is no light (during nighttime hours) and functions like photosynthesis, which uses water as an atomic source, where there is light (during daylight hours). The research results were published in the online edition of ChemCatChem, a German academic journal.