IIT Mandi innovate photocatalyst to transform plastics into H2
Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Mandi has announced that its researchers have developed a method to transform plastic into hydrogen when exposed to light. The study has been supported by the Scheme for Promotion of Academic and Research Collaboration (SPARC), Ministry of Education.
The research was led by Prem Fexil Siril, professor, and Aditi Halder, associate professor, School of Basic Sciences, IIT Mandi, and co-authored by their Ph.D. scholars, Rituporn Gogoi, Astha Singh, Vedasree Moutam, Lalita Sharma, and Kajal Sharma.
"The ideal path to effective annihilation of plastics is to degrade them into useful chemicals. The generation of hydrogen from plastics is particularly useful because the gas is considered the most practical non-polluting fuel of the future," Siril said.
He further added, "We first ascertained the photocatalytic activity of our catalyst by seeing its action on methyl orange, whose colour change from orange to colourless showed the extent to which our catalyst was able to degrade it."
Researchers at IIT Mandi have developed a catalyst that can efficiently convert plastics into hydrogen and other useful chemicals when exposed to light. The generation of hydrogen from plastics is particularly useful because gas is considered the most practical non-polluting fuel of the future.
The researchers found there was 100 percent degradation within four hours when they used a catalyst in which about 4 percent weight iron oxide was present in the polypyrrole matrix. Combining iron oxide nanoparticles with pyrrole was found to result in the formation of a semiconductor-semiconductor heterojunction, which in turn results in strong visible-light-induced photocatalytic activity. The IIT Mandi catalyst can function simply with sunlight. The findings from this work have been recently published in the Journal of Environmental Chemical Engineering.