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Two Solar Hydrogen Studies May Lead to Breakthroughs in Large Scale Production

Two recent studies, both concerning solar energy used to produce hydrogen may help PEM fuel cells become more efficient and effective. One set of research is from Great Britain at the University of East Anglia. The second research study is from the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC).

At the University of East Anglia the scientists are using a gold electrode covered with indium phosphide (InP) nanoparticles and then layered with an iron-sulfur complex, [Fe2S2(CO)6]. Just add water and light to this photoelectrocatalytic system and the scientists were able to achieve 60-percent efficiency.

At UCSC the researchers are using a photoelectrochemical (PEC) reaction to create a direct solar to hydrogen production inside the solar cell itself. The system uses a light absorbing anode and two different techniques called elemental doping and quantum dot sensitization.

Either one of these techniques is efficient in causing a reaction and producing hydrogen, but by combining techniques, higher efficiency can be demonstrated.

According to Nanotechnology Now, “The researchers synthesized thin films of titanium dioxide nanoparticles, as well as titanium dioxide nanowire arrays vertically aligned in a thin film on a substrate. The titanium dioxide films were doped with nitrogen, and cadmium selenide nanoparticles were used for quantum dot sensitization. The resulting nanostructured composite materials were then used as photoanodes in a PEC cell to compare their performance in carefully controlled experiments.”

I’ve talked about the merits of using direct solar to hydrogen technology before. These two studies add more weight to the discussion that solar to hydrogen will be a viable method in the near future for large scale production of H2.

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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  1. I have 0 expert knowledge of making hydrogen, but would it not be a good idea to use a rivers flow of water to power a generator ( The Hoover Damn for instance ) and collect the water as well so as to form a self contained hydrogen station feeding off of its own energy and water resource to make the hydrogen?. It seems that hydrogen could be produced and small cities could feed upon the left over energy and water.

    The three birds with one stone method. About 4 billion kilowatt-hours of energy, enough for 500,000 homes, are generated acording to this website. On top of using it for hydrogen and to self enrgize the facility. and again cited from that web site
    (Hydroelectric power is created as water rushes through turbines that activate generators. When the water has completed its task, it flows on unchanged to serve other needs. The electricity produced is clean, nonpolluting and, unlike many other forms of energy, renewable.) Now nuclear reactors ( Thank God ) And from what i gather we Americans have the ability to move mountains. Is now not the time to prove it ?. As many rivers flow through the U.S. Does this thought have any merit ? Please e-mail me with your thoughts.

  2. admin

    Yes, I’ve talked about this somewhat here:

    I know that Niagara Falls will be producing hydrogen from hydroelectric power.

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