Sat. Jul 20th, 2024

Scientists have developed an autonomous hydrogen production plant that works on the energy of the Sun

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Jul8,2024

Scientists have developed an autonomous solar-powered hydrogen production plant

Scientists from the Fraunhofer Research Network presented an innovative autonomous compact module designed to produce hydrogen from water using solar energy. This scalable technology promises to greatly expand hydrogen production, offering a sustainable solution to fuel vehicles and reduce carbon emissions.

The technology behind the innovation

The module uses the effect of photoelectrochemical catalysis to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. Unlike traditional electrolyzers, which use an electric current to split water molecules, this new module includes solar panels that increase the efficiency of the reaction.

The basis of the system is a catalyst made of almost ordinary sheet glass. Special materials are applied to the glass by vacuum deposition, creating a nanometer-thick film on both sides. The precision of this deposition, combined with carefully selected semiconductor materials, greatly increases the efficiency of the catalyst.

How it works

When sunlight hits the glass, the short-wave radiation is absorbed on the outer surface, producing oxygen. At the same time, long-wave radiation penetrates the inner layer, forming hydrogen. A partition separates these two gases, which are then collected separately.

A module with a working surface of 50 cm², scaled to a field of 100 m², can produce up to 30 kg of hydrogen per year. This amount of hydrogen is enough to fuel an average passenger car for a distance of 15,000 to 20,000 kilometers.

One of the important advantages of this development is its scalability. The compact modules can be easily scaled to meet different hydrogen production needs. This capability is critical to expanding the technology's application to larger, industrial-scale hydrogen production facilities.

But things are not so great

Although the efficiency and innovation of photoelectrochemical catalysts are well documented, they have historically faced problems of rapid degradation. The specifics of how the innovative modules overcome this problem have not been disclosed, but the research team is confident in the strength and durability of their design.

Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7116

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