Chinese and Russian Scientists Create New Cheap and Efficient Hydrogen Energy Material

Aerial photo taken on Sept. 4, 2018 shows a photovoltaic power station in Loufan County, Taiyuan City, north China’s Shanxi Province. In recent years, the county has vigorously developed and utilized solar energy by constructing photovoltaic power stations on barren mountains. (Xinhua/Cao Yang)

A research team of Chinese and Russian scientists recently developed a cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to increase efficiency in converting sunlight into hydrogen energy, a method that could help Russia and China usher in a new era of clean energy and help both countries take a leading position in the industry.

Scientists from Russia’s research-focused Tomsk National Polytechnic University (TPU), Shihezi University of China and China’s Wuhan University of Geosciences claim to have found an inexpensive and environmentally friendly way to process a popular photocatalyst material.

The results were published in the scientific journal Applied Catalysis B-environmental.

Scientists said they found a method to modify the microstructure of carbon nitride (an important photocatalytic material) by treating carbon nitride with water at high temperatures to form porous nanolayers of oxygen-containing molecules.

Raul Rodriguez, a professor at the Research Faculty of Chemistry and Biomedical Technology, Tomsk Polytechnic University, said carbon nitride is a promising and inexpensive material that can be easily synthesized from urea or other nitrogen-carbon compounds by high temperature reactions.

“After the steam and high temperature treatments, the material will have better performance in generating hydrogen from sunlight,” he said.

Sino-Russian energy cooperation is rapidly becoming one of the biggest areas of bilateral cooperation.

Sino-Russian bilateral trade in 2021 grew 35.9 percent year-on-year to $146.8 billion, surpassing the $140 billion threshold for the first time, an all-time high, according to official data. The two countries have set a goal of reaching $200 billion in bilateral trade by 2024.

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