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UC Riverside Students Develop Solar Hydrogen System

Altruism isn’t dead and it may even lead to revolutionary and profitable products. This is what the University of California, Riverside engineering team is finding out as they were developing a way to help third world countries. The idea was to develop a device to harness energy from the sun, electrolyze water and capture hydrogen from water to use at night with a fuel cell for power when there is no sun.

The UC Riverside team won an honorable mention in a DOE contest for developing a low cost home hydrogen fueling system for a single family home that will refuel a hydrogen car. The project started out, however, as a way to supply off-the-grid energy to people in third world nations.

The solar electrolyzer uses new technology developed by the engineering team. According to UC Riverside, “The UC Riverside students’ research focuses on combining the fuel cell and electrolyzer into what they call a regenerative hydroxide exchange membrane fuel cell system.

“The electrolyzer splits water to generate hydrogen and the fuel cell generate power using the hydrogen. The water byproduct created by the fuel cell is spit back in the electrolyzer and the process starts again.

“The key innovation is a newly developed quaternary phosphonium-based hydroxide exchange membrane that allows use of catalysts such as nickel or silver, which are thousands of times less expensive than platinum, a catalyst now commonly used.”

So, there you have it. What started out as a project to help people in developing nations who currently have no electricity, many just have expanded into a home hydrogen fueling station that people globally with hydrogen cars can use a few years from now. A couple more “happy accidents” in science and political will are all that are needed to make hydrogen cars a reality in the near future.

About Hydro Kevin Kantola

Hydro Kevin Kantola
I'm a hydrogen car blogger, editor and publisher interested in documenting the history and the progression of hydrogen cars, vehicles and infrastructure worldwide.

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4 comments

  1. I have often wondered how water evaporated?If you could just keep the oxygen away while the hydrogen floats up?

  2. Will this be available to the public?

  3. admin

    Companies in Japan are doing this now. ITM Power is the UK is developing a system. I believe one or two companies in the US are also doing this but I can’t put my finger on the links at the moment.

  4. Fat chance of that making to our national marketing in all 50 states. It would ruin their plans for mass enslavement of the American people. Although it was not so long ago I saw a prediction that sometime this year silver would begin to increase in price. Hydrogen could be the catalyst for the increase. Good work!

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