Solar Fuel Cells That Uses Low Cost Solar Cells.
Renewable energy technology has a few weak points. Today’s wind and solar pv systems work great under certain conditions but they are very intermittant sources for electricity. In order to be able to completely replace all forms of fossil fuel energy with renewable we need to be able to make electricity in an efficient way and be able to store the energy.
If a technology was able to combine two or more types of renewable technology and provide energy storage it would be a possible game changer, depending on it’s pricing. Here is one such technology from a company called Hypersolar Inc.
The company has just released a video ( see below ), demonstrating hydrogen production using commercially available low-cost silicon solar cells (supplied by Midwest Optoelectronics, LLC “MWOE”), protected with HyperSolar’s proprietary coating.
The video demonstrates the Company’s patent pending solar-cell and membrane assembly that produces hydrogen and oxygen separately on two different sides of the solar cells. The membrane prevents mixing of hydrogen and oxygen (a hazardous gaseous mixture) resulting in the extraction of “pure hydrogen” necessary for use in fuel cells that can power cars like the Toyota Mirai and Honda Clarity, as well as industrial power equipment. This integrated assembly also prevents recombination of hydrogen and oxygen into water at the catalyst surface, significantly improving the overall hydrogen utilization efficiency.
One of the keys to this success is the use of HyperSolar’s patent pending electroactive coating formulated to protect the solar cells from corrosion during prolonged hydrogen production. The success of utilizing silicon solar cells provided by outside manufacturers represents yet another indication of the potential of HyperSolar’s technology for economically viable production of hydrogen.
“This video highlights the innovative assembly and resulting production capabilities of key components of HyperSolar technology,” said Tim Young, CEO of HyperSolar.
We are clearly demonstrating, using commercially available and low cost silicon solar cells, that the integration of these cells and membrane technology are functioning well together to produce renewable hydrogen. Coupled with our patent-pending coating that protects the cells against corrosion, our process has reached the point where we feel building a larger prototype is the next true step to showcasing scalable, cost-efficient production. While these triple-junction silicon solar cells are not yet economically on par with the natural gas steam reforming method of hydrogen production, the advantage is that this method can produce hydrogen at the point of distribution where steam-reformed hydrogen may not be available or is too far to transport.
HyperSolar’s primary research is focused on developing a completely renewable, low-cost and submersible hydrogen production particle that can split water molecules using the power of the sun, emulating the core functions of photosynthesis. Each particle is a complete hydrogen generator that contains a novel high voltage solar cell bonded to chemical catalysts by a proprietary encapsulation coating.
See above for a video detailing the rise of hydrogen fuel technology as well as HyperSolar’s completely renewable process of hydrogen fuel production.
Gordon's expertise in the area of industrial energy efficiency and alternative energy. He is an experienced electrical engineer with a Masters degree in Alternative Energy technology. He is the co-founder of several renewable energy media sites including Solar Thermal Magazine.