Photo credit: Treehugger
Prototype uses solar energy to produce hydrogen and clean water from polluted water
Solar and nanoparticles and hydrogen, oh my!
The promised hydrogen economy keeps getting pushed back farther into the future, it seems, as producing hydrogen sustainably and at a low cost is always just around the bend in time, and while hydrogen has its share of opponents, it also has its boosters, such as HyperSolar, which looks to bring a breakthrough to scalable renewable hydrogen production.
Although this element is one of the most abundant in the universe, and the third most abundant on Earth, it’s also the lightest, which makes it rare in our atmosphere (meaning we can’t just hoover it up from the air). Hydrogen isn’t exactly known for its energy-density, but it is one potential storage solution for building a more sustainable energy system, if it can be produced efficiently with renewable energy, and then stored and distributed efficiently, as opposed to the current major source of hydrogen, which is steam-reformed natural gas.
Those are some big ‘ifs’ that won’t be solved overnight in the clean hydrogen quest, but HyperSolar believes it has the next step for producing low-cost, scalable, renewable hydrogen, with the source being polluted or dirty water, and the energy from the sun. Instead of using electricity from a separate solar array to power
an electrolyzer, this prototype has its solar energy component directly submerged in the water, with its “Self-contained Photoelectrochemical Nanosystem” technology that is “designed to mimic photosynthesis.” According to the company, this nanoparticle-based system enables a much more efficient electrolysis process than one powered by a separate solar input, which would have higher losses of transmission between the sun and the actual hydrogen production, and it says its system could “significantly” lower the cost of hydrogen electrolysis.
HyperSolar calls it the H2 Generator, and so far, it’s a lab-scale prototype, but the company believes it can be scaled up effectively, with the technology put to work turning wastewater or other non-potable water into hydrogen, “at or near the point of distribution.”
Read the full article: Treehugger