Qatar researchers using solar power in interesting way

Dr. Ozalp in her lab at Texas A&M University at Qatar

Researchers are looking into ways to make renewable solar power that could be used as an important energy tool in Qatar - a nation most known for oil production.

Deutsche Welle reported scientists at Texas A&M University in Doha, Qatar, are developing a reactor to utilize solar power. However, the reactor wouldn't convert solar energy to electricity, but be used to break down natural gas into carbon and hydrogen - two chemicals that are currently in high demand.

The article stated the use of solar power cleans up the process of creating carbon. Without solar, the process can result in a series of harmful byproducts like carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and sulfur compounds being created.

"We take natural gas and we use concentrated solar energy to directly break it down into its components," said Nesrin Ozalp, associate professor at the university's mechanical engineering program. "There is no other byproduct."

Bloomberg reported Qatar is the nation's largest producer of liquefied natural gas. It's expected oil and gas revenues will drive the nation's growth through 2015.

More information about the energy market in Qatar is available at PennEnergy's research area.

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