OriginOil has made a breakthrough scaled down system that uses algae to create hydrogen with similar efficiencies to using solar energy. The efficiency of using OriginOil’s Hydrogen Harvester is around 12-percent and solar energy hydrogen systems by comparison offer a wide range of efficiencies between 6 and 20-percent.
One of the disadvantages of solar is that on cloudy days and at night, the production of hydrogen stops. Not, so with the Hydrogen Harvester as algae will continue to produce hydrogen long after the sun goes down.
According to CTO of OriginOil Brian Goodall, “Our experiments clearly demonstrate that this technology can generate renewable hydrogen at rates that matter to the global economy. These early rates compare well with those of the more mature solar cell industry, with the added benefit that the fuel, hydrogen, is readily storable. This is the first renewable source for today’s $39 billion hydrogen market.”
The algae to hydrogen system offers two more advantages. First, it can be self-sustaining by using some of the hydrogen to run through a fuel cell to create power for the production system and facility so that it will be grid independent.
Another advantage is that algae absorbs CO2 making it a carbon sink cleaning the air as it produces H2. The next big step will be for OriginOil to scale up its algal system to provide large quantities of commercial grade hydrogen.