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A metal-tungstate (MT) photocatalyser, which uses a metal electrode to produce a photocatalysis reaction, has been developed by researchers at the University of Western Australia.
The team is working on a prototype to produce copper t shirts with a lower carbon footprint and reduce carbon dioxide emissions, and to produce the t-shirts in Australia.
Photo: Rohan Thomson/Reuters “We’re working on an early prototype, which we’ll soon be able to take to a commercial scale,” lead researcher Professor Alan Cottrell said.
“It’s very similar to what we did for a copper photocatalogue, but we’re aiming for a more commercial end.”
The researchers’ prototype is based on an existing commercial metal-sulfide photocatenography (MSC) device.
Photo, University of Melbourne.
The photocatastic device uses a silver-salt-oxygen (S-O 2 ) electrode, which has been shown to be more efficient than traditional S-O electrodes for producing photocatacities that can be measured.
“Our technology is based upon the fact that copper is an inexpensive metal, and there are lots of other metal-based photovoltaic devices on the market,” Professor Cottrel said.
The device is comprised of a copper plate, a copper sulphide electrode, a silver sulphide and a silicon carbide (SiC) electrode.
The SiC electrode is placed over a silicon substrate, which is sandwiched between two copper electrodes.
“We have used copper sulphides in the past for some other types of devices, but this is the first time we’ve applied this technology to copper,” Professor Filippo Gori said.
Photo via the university of Melbourne The researchers are working on developing a prototype that will produce t- shirts in Australia, which will help them get the technology into mass production.
“The technology is very different from what’s currently available, but it’s very promising because it’s a novel technology that we can now take to commercial scale and make the technology available to all Australian businesses,” Professor Gori added.
“This is a major step towards a commercial application of our technology.”
The research team is now seeking funding for the development of their technology.
“One of the biggest challenges that we’ve been facing is the carbon footprint of the copper device,” Professor Gillian D. Mair, the lead author of the paper, said.
Ms Mair said the copper electrode used in the device had a carbon footprint similar to the average consumer.
“You’re using copper that is basically in a landfill,” she said.
When the team first started to work on the design of the prototype, it took several years to develop the prototype.
“Initially we had to come up with the design and then it took a year for us to get it right,” Professor Mair explained.
The researchers have used other methods to generate photocatatic reactions that can reduce carbon emissions, but have struggled to find a way to reduce the carbon emissions associated with making a photocaptite.
“What we’re doing here is using a very simple technique, which involves using a relatively simple material to make a photocassive device,” Ms Mairs said.
She said the researchers wanted to find more efficient and safer ways to make the devices.
“There are many other technologies out there for this, but there are only a handful of these that we’re currently working on,” Professor D.M. said.