Subtopic 3: Alternative Solar Technologies

Using micro-fibrous red phosphorus to produce clean fuel (hydrogen) from water with high efficiency

Prof. Jimmy Yu, Department of Chemistry, The Chinese University of Hong Kong




余濟美教授最近的研究發現,只要在水中加入一種「神秘成分」,一起暴露在陽光下,就能製造潔淨燃料。關鍵成分就是紅磷。在陽光下,紅磷可把水分解,產生氣泡狀的氫 ── 一種潔淨燃料。研究發現,一種特別類型的「微纖維紅磷」 比其他種類的紅磷、甚至比其他光催化劑,能更有效從水中生產氫氣,同時成本也更低。余教授擁有多項發明專利,並獲湯森路透(Thomson Reuters) 譽為「2014 世界最具影響力科學家」之一。

The research team of Prof. Jimmy Yu found a way to create clean fuel by simply exposing water (laced with a secret ingredient) to sunlight. The key ingredient is red phosphrous. Their research discovered that the hydrogen yield by a particular type of red phosphrous (micro-fibrous phosphorus) is much higher than that of other types, and is the highest among elemental photocatalyst at a much lower cost. Prof. Yu holds several patents for his inventions, and was named as the “World‘s Most Influential Scientific Minds” in 2014 by the Thomson Reuters.


針對問題Problem to be solved


The fast-growing demand for energy and the recognition of man-made global climate change underscore the urgency of developing clean and renewable energy resources to replace fossil fuels. A photocatalyst operates much as chlorophyll does in a plant, absorbing energy from light and causing a chemical reaction. The process of photocatalysis is simply a form of artificial photosynthesis. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of materials that can be used as photocatalysts. But most of them are heavy-metal oxide compounds that are expensive and complicated to produce. Very rare elements are often used to enhance their efficiency. So chemists have been searching for a single element that can perform the same function. Red phosphorous is abundant in the earth’s crust and can be extracted fairly easily. At the same time, hydrogen has a high fuel capacity and creates more energy than other chemical fuels. The process of conversion leaves only water as a by-product, not toxic gas.


余教授擁有多項發明專利,並獲湯森路透 (Thomson Reuters) 譽為「2014世界最具影響力科學家」之一。

Prof. Yu holds several patents for his inventions, and was named as the “World's Most Influential Scientific Minds” in 2014 by the Thomson Reuters.


Diagram showing the production of hydrogen from water via micro-fibrous phosphorus/SiO2.

以微纖維紅磷從水中製造新潔淨能源 (氫氣) 示意圖。


The hydrogen yield by micro-fibrous phosphorus/SiO2 is much higher than that of other red phosphorus, and is the highest among elemental photocatalyst.



專利 Patent Filed

Photocatalytic Co-Ps-loaded Red Phosphorus for H2 Formation from Water (US 8,940,656)



相關文獻 Related Paper:

  • Zhuofeng Hu, Luyan Yuan, Zhifeng Liu, Zhurui Shen,* & Jimmy C. Yu*. (2016). An elemental phosphorus photocatalyst with a record high hydrogen evolution efficiency. Angewandte Chemie, 55: 9580-5.  [Link]


Project Leaflet 研究計劃簡介   Available Patent 可授權專利  



Experiment Demonstration 實驗示範介紹:













Related news articles:

Water as a Clean Fuel 
(“Our Hong Kong” advertising campaign, Hong Kong SAR Government) [21 Apr 2016]

"Our Hong Kong" advertising campaign, under the creative concept "Innovation & Technology", Hong Kong SAR Government
"Our Hong Kong - The new clean fuel. Water." (Poster)

Youtube video (00'30"):


CUHK Newsletter 中大通訊 (Issue 444) 
[4 Oct 2014]
A Quest for Clean Fuel




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