Scientists have successfully produced an iron molecule that could provide stunning benefits in terms of both electricity generation in solar cells and fuel production.
Experts believe that this new discovery will solve the problem of energy crisis as iron is a more plentiful metal that is readily available on the planet. It should be noted that expensive and rare metals are used in the industry now and replacing it with this new iron molecule will provide a cheaper alternative.
Photocatalysts and solar cells make use of a technology that involves molecules containing metals, known as metal complexes and it absorbs solar rays and utilizes their energy. Now, metals used for this technology are noble metals like ruthenium, osmium and iridium which are very expensive.
"Our results now show that by using advanced molecule design, it is possible to replace the rare metals with iron, which is common in the Earth's crust and therefore cheap," said Kenneth Wärnmark, a chemistry professor at the Lund University in Sweden, Eurekalert.org reports.
During the study, researchers developed a new iron-based molecule that has the capability to capture and utilize the energy of solar light for a sufficiently long time to make it react with another molecule.
The study report published in the journal Science also revealed that the newly developed iron molecule can also glow to enable researchers to see iron-based light with the naked eye at room temperature.
Kenneth Warnmark also added that the new technology can be used for cheap energy production in another ten years.
A few weeks back, a team of researchers at the University of Illinois developed a catalyst that could split water molecules to produce hydrogen fuel. During the study, researchers found that the new electrolytic catalyst developed from mixing metal compounds with perchloric acid could easily break down the bonds between hydrogen and oxygen.