Canadian Manufacturing

Hydrogen fuel firm passes ‘critical threshold’ in quest to split water with sunlight

Hypersolar takes major step in developing hydrogen production method

SANTA BARBARA, Calif.—HyperSolar, Inc., a company developing technology that aims to produce renewable hydrogen using sunlight and any source of water, has announced it has reached a significant milestone in its effort to split water molecules for the production of renewable hydrogen fuel.

The company’s technology has reached the minimum 1.5 volts threshold needed to split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen for commercially viable applications.

“The 1.55 V breakthrough, in a low-cost single solar cell element, is representative of the tremendous progression of the technology,” the company said.

“We are focused on identifying the next steps for the technology that will make it possible for us to scale up to make a commercial technology that can produce hydrogen fuel at or near the point of distribution, using only water and sunlight,” HyperSolar CEO, Tim Young, added.

The technology, which centres on using a low-cost system to emulate the core function of photosynthesis, aims to improve on other techniques that waste energy when converting water to hydrogen and oxygen. The commercial applications of the breakthrough could be significant, with the market for hydrogen fuel poised for significant growth if a reliable, non-energy-intensive method for producing hydrogen is developed.

Though the company announced earlier this year it had exceeded the 1.23 volts theoretical minimum voltage needed to split water, the 1.55 volts achievement opens the technology to commercial applications. The company said it will now focus on increasing the hydrogen production efficiencies of their “inexpensive light driven hydrogen generation particles” by bonding the ideal fuel production catalyst to the low-cost high-voltage solar cell.

The company’s early proof of prototype in action using only sunlight

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