The great advantage of fossil fuels is its storage aspect. It will wait patiently in a tank until somebody needs the energy and decides to burn it. With wind and solar no such luck. For this reason some researchers try to combine the advantages of solar and fossil fuel. Enter solar fuel. The most obvious source of solar fuel is biomass, created from water, oxygen and sunlight, producing sugars with enzymes as catalysts. The essence of solar fuel research consists in circumventing natural processes occurring in plants and create fuel in a more direct way. Solar light is converted into chemicals, using water, oxygen and CO2 as “base materials” and adding some catalyst(s) to speed things up, c.q. enable the process.
Solar fuels are carbon neutral in the sense that they recycle CO2 from the atmosphere before they are released again into the atmosphere.
Solar fuel production methods can be either direct (H2) or indirect (biomass).
Direct solar fuel production. TiO2 photocatalyst for water splitting. H2 bubbles are generated from the catalyst surface only by sunlight irradiation.
[wikipedia.org] – Solar fuel
[renewableenergyworld.com] – Solar Fuels: How Close, How Real?
[greentechmedia.com] – The Wild and (Potentially) Wonderful World of Solar Fuels
[sciencedaily.com] – How solar energy can be transformed into fuel
[iflscience.com] – Solar Fuels: How Planes And Cars Could Be Powered By The Sun
[technologyreview.com] – The Road to Solar Fuels Hits a Speed Bump
[solarh2.tu-darmstadt.de] – SOLARH2 (EU)
[scientificamerican.com] – Scientists May Be a Step Closer to Creating Solar-Fueled Vehicles
[power-technology.com] – Solar fuels: materials breakthrough could open new chapter