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Solar-Powered Paint

June 27, 2017

Building paint that harvests hydrogen from the air could provide abundant clean energy.




Solar-powered paint. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

A fresh coat of paint could one day help power your home. Researchers at RMIT University in Australia developed the coating from a combination of titanium oxide particles and molybdenum sulphide. They write in the journal ACS Nano that the compound draws moisture out of the air, splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen atoms with a little help from the sun. Inorganic chemist Torben Daeneke says the hydrogen could be harvested as a clean energy source.

TORBEN DAENEKE (RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia):

Our system doesn’t need a lot of humidity in the air. We also found that we don’t need a lot of light. What we believe the application would be is to coat the walls of buildings, for example, or areas which don’t receive a lot of light with our cheap paint.


Daeneke’s team is now working out how to collect and store the hydrogen that’s harvested. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

Story by Susanne Bard