I’ve talked about direct solar to hydrogen production in the past including discoveries by the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics in China, researchers at the California Institute of Technology and scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and Northeastern University.
This time I wish to talk about RoseStreet Labs in Phoenix, Arizona who have come up with a unique method of producing hydrogen directly from solar energy. The researchers used a photoelectrochemical cell (PEC) to spontaneously generate H2 without external power.
This discovery by RoseStreet Labs is coupled with their use of full spectrum Nitride Thin Film semiconductors. In the past, photovoltaic cells had been limited to using the ultraviolet range of the spectrum to produce direct solar to hydrogen. This new technology can use the full visible and non-visible spectrum of light to create hydrogen.
According to RoseStreet CEO Bob Forcier, “We are excited about this new development in capturing the full spectrum of the sun for not only instantaneous power generation, but also for energy storage via liquefied hydrogen or to assist the emerging biofuel and biodiesel efforts. Although this is a significant milestone in our scientific research in Nitride Thin Film photovoltaics, it also represents the opportunity to commercialize this technology to the next level with RoseStreet’s partners.”
RoseStreet has not announced, however, if they are using water as a feedstock for the direct solar energy or some other hydrogen rich chemical compound. No matter, since with the amount of R&D into direct solar to hydrogen technology it is only a stone’s throw away until commercialization becomes a reality in this field.