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Direct Solar to Hydrogen Plant Goes Up in Australia

Solar SystemsSolar Systems of Hawthorne in Victoria, Australia is developing the country’s first and perhaps even the world’s first direct solar to hydrogen commercial power plant. This $60 million project will either be part of the larger $450 million Mildura solar power station that is currently being built and scheduled to start operation in 2010 or a separate demonstration project built near Bridgewater.

According to theage.com, Solar Systems found John Lasich has made a breakthrough in technology that will enable this process, “Electrolysis is used to break down water into hydrogen and oxygen, but present technology is quite inefficient, even using solar power. At room temperature every 100 watts of electricity produces just 60 watts of hydrogen. Mr. Lasich’s technique heats the water to 1000 degrees Celsius, a temperature at which the process delivers 140 watts worth of hydrogen for every 100 watts of electricity.”

The direct solar plant will create hydrogen from water during the day and then use the hydrogen at night by running it through a fuel cell to produce power. By heating water to 1000 degrees Celsius, the hydrogen and oxygen bond is more easily cracked than at ambient temperatures.

Even though this may be the world’s first direct solar to hydrogen plant, there has also been some R&D elsewhere in the world worth noting on this subject. For instance, in Germany, researchers have discovered that a certain semiconductor will help crack the hydrogen and oxygen bond of water. In addition, researchers in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania have both developed novel ways to break the water bond using direct solar energy.

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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5 comments

  1. “…which the process delivers 140 watts worth of hydrogen for every 100 watts of electricity”

    This defies Newton’s laws

  2. steve huisenfeldt

    Hydrogen to solar powerplants hydrogen electrolysis creating hydrogen to heat water produce steam to move a turbine which in turn a generator is the most effective way to create energy without coal ash nuclear waste another toxic elements.

  3. cars using milk sized bottles to deliver hydrogen at convenience,creating infostructered use as logical use creates pattern of use, thus available any where.a sub system for new breeds of car, trucks bikes. computers with solid pills to thus both ways create a market.

  4. replacement of platium,, leming dai nano tubes that are easy to manufacture needs to be created factory for now,,, beats his last method, old method with new, method.removes barrier.to use.

  5. ” “…which the process delivers 140 watts worth of hydrogen for every 100 watts of electricity”

    This defies Newton’s laws”

    Well stated like that it does. But what i imagine it can mean is that solar power takes up most of the energy required to create the 140watts of hydrogen fuel. For the rest of it, like transportation needs, manufacturing, maintenance, the energy requirement is 100 watts. Thus this surplas is explained.

    Even so, i believe that this shows how low efficiency this technology has at this moment. There could be considerations on the social aspects of the implementation. But thats always the case with new technologies. That it has a surplus is already a good sign. The next roadblocks are material scarcity, which will require massive changes in production processes in my opinion.

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