Fuel cells and artificial photosynthesis are two promising electro-catalytic strategies to transform and store energy. Using an electro-catalytic set-up allows you to run reactions at low temperatures and pressures. The most common electrolyte (the liquid the electro-chemical cell is operating in) is water. Due to these features, electro-catalytic setups can be easily run on a small scale and in a distributed (local) way, for instance to store excess energy from intermittent renewable energy sources in chemical bonds.
Graphene consists of one atomic layer of carbon, and so it belongs to the class of two-dimensional materials. It is extraordinary stable and electrons can move on it extremely fast. Researchers at the Japanese RIKEN institute found now a new way to prepare graphene.
To do this, they radiated graphite in the microwave adding an ionic liquid. The graphene layers are separated with the help of the irradiation. Then, the ionic liquid can penetrate between the layers to keep them separated.