I’ve talked about the company HyperSolar a couple times in the past as a company dedicated to making direct solar to hydrogen systems. The photocatalyst the company has invented is immersed into water and then a light source is turned upon it, resulting in hydrogen production.
The Photocatalytic water splitting technique developed by HyperSolar is an efficient, low cost alternative to using platinum on electrodes. In fact, by happy accident, HyperSolar has discovered not only a low cost alternative to platinum but a material that will slow down corrosion of the electrode.
And, as luck would have it, this new material doesn’t have to be confined to the company’s solar-hydrogen water splitting device but can also be used as a replacement for platinum in fuel cells as well.
According to HyperSolar, “In fact, platinum electrodes are the most costly component in fuel cells, especially fuel cells used to power vehicles. For example, the current production cost of the Honda FCX hydrogen fuel cell vehicle is estimated to be $120,000, and the planned Toyota vehicle is expected to retail at $138,000. While automotive use of fuel cells is still experimental, industrial and residential use of fuel cells for electricity generation is a fast growing market. Research firms project that the fuel cell market will reach $785 million in 2012, with an estimated compounded annual growth rate of 16.6% from 2010 to 2014. HyperSolar is hopeful that its proprietary coating can be used to protect less expensive metals to replace platinum electrodes and lower the cost of fuel cells in the current market and the emerging automotive market.”
So, you see HyperSolar is happy about the potential of “double dipping” in the marketplace. Their new coating can be used to produce hydrogen, which they can then sell to people who use fuel cells. And, their new coating can be used by the people who buy fuel cells as well.
Covering both ends of the hydrogen supply chain is something HyperSolar is getting hyper excited about. And I am, too. 🙂