Sun Catalytix has just received $1 million in venture capitol funding and is also expecting to receive an additional $4.1 million in funding to develop a catalyst that will help solar energy in homes split water into hydrogen and oxygen.
The hydrogen will then be used in two different ways. First, it will be run through a fuel cell to power the home and second it will be used to fuel a hydrogen car. One of the unique aspects of the Sun Catalytix catalyst is that it does not require purified water in order to work properly.
According to Bob Metcalfe, a member of the board of directors, “This new catalyst will take dirty water, salt water. We’ve made hydrogen from the Boston Harbor.” The new hydrogen production system simulates photosynthesis by having small organisms self-repair and self-replicate around the electrodes of the electrolysis device.
According to MIT professor Daniel Nocera and his collaborators, “The utilization of solar energy on a large scale requires efficient storage. Solar-to-fuels has the capacity to meet large scale storage needs as demonstrated by natural photosynthesis. This process uses sunlight to rearrange the bonds of water to furnish O2 and an H2-equivalent. We present a tutorial review of our efforts to develop an amorphous cobalt–phosphate catalyst that oxidizes water to O2. The use of earth-abundant materials, operation in water at neutral pH, and the formation of the catalyst in situ captures functional elements of the oxygen evolving complex of Photosystem II.”
This page from the Sun Catalytix lists the peer reviewed articles of the science behind the new catalyst. Suffice it to say, home hydrogen production would be a large boost to building an infrastructure to support the upcoming hydrogen transportation system.