Cost-effective material can be used for electricity storage

Researchers at University of British Columbia have painted surfaces to convert electricity.

University of British Columbia researchers have found a way to make materials for energy storage using a cheap lamp.

The researchers wanted to find a better way to make coatings that can be painted on surfaces to conduct electricity or convert electricity into hydrogen fuels. Typically these coatings are developed in extreme conditions with expensive tools and materials, but the researchers developed a technique that allows them to use a consumer grade heat lamp to get the same results. Once the solution was painted onto a surface and heated up, it transformed into a catalytic coating.

The technique may also help reduce the fabrication costs of making catalyst-coated electrodes in commercial applications electrolysers

These coatings can be used in flexible electronic devices or to convert electricity into hydrogen fuels. "Solar farms and wind turbines don't provide a constant supply of energy," says study co-author Curtis Berlinguette, an associate professor in UBC's Departments of Chemistry and Chemical and Biological Engineering. "Storing electrical energy produced during times of low demand as hydrogen fuels enables that electricity to be used later during peaks of higher demand. The catalyst coatings we can now produce more easily could help make this process cheaper and more efficient."

The discovery was published in the journal, Science Advances.

Caroline Hayes

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