Titanium Oxide Material Lets Sunlight Drive Green Hydrogen Production

Badr and Barsoum posing
Hussein O. Bardr, PhD, and Michel Barsoum, PhD

A team of materials scientists, led by distinguished professor Michel Barsoum, PhD, and doctoral researcher Hussein O. Badr, PhD, have developed a breakthrough titanium oxide nanofilament material that can efficiently split hydrogen from water using only sunlight. In tests, the material outperformed leading commercial photocatalysts by a factor of 10 and remained stable for over six months. The discovery could uncouple large-scale production of hydrogen from the use of fossil fuels.

Barsoum said the inexpensive, scalable material could help “unlock the potential of green hydrogen. The nanofilaments may also have applications in solar cells, batteries and water purification. The breakthrough builds on Drexel’s ongoing clean energy research to devel- op materials for technologies like hydrogen fuel cells. Further studies are underway to confirm this and optimize the nanofilaments, but initial results are so promising that the team has already founded a startup to commercialize the technology, working with Drexel’s Office of Innovation.

big namo
A new photocatalytic titanium oxide-based nanomaterial, discovered at Drexel, could open new pathways for producing green hydrogen.