Researchers from UCLA(University of Carlifornia Los Angeles) have produced a device that can use solar energy to create and store energy (cheaply), power electronic devices, and create hydrogen fuel for eco-friendly cars.
Such a device if mass-produced will bring down the cost of hydrogen cars and make it affordable. This is because it produces hydrogen using nickel, iron and cobalt elements that are much more abundant and less expensive
The technology is considered very valuable as it will be useful for rural dwellers who don’t have access to petrol supply. It also has double advantage as users can provide themselves with electricity and fuel for vehicles at the same time.
Moreover, big cities and towns can also harness its value as a storage facility for electricity that can be produced when needed. This is less hazardous unlike when petrol or other flammable fuel is being stored.
Traditional hydrogen fuel cells and super capacitors have two electrodes: one positive and the other negative. The device developed at UCLA has a third electrode that acts as both a super capacitor, which stores energy, and as a device for splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen, through a process called – water electrolysis.
The electrodes are connected to a solar cell that serves as the device’s power source, and the electrical energy harvested by the solar cell can be stored in one of two ways: either electrochemically or chemically as hydrogen.
It is a convenient device to use as well as also being environmental friendly.
What this would mean for africa is that over-dependence on fossil-fuel(petrol,diesel,e.t.c) will be reduced and cost savings on energy purchase will be increased