Low-cost hydrogen fuel production discovered by international research teamJuly 18, 2013
Cost of hydrogen fuel cells proves problematic for many
Hydrogen fuel has managed to garner strong support around the world, but many still have serious concerns regarding the cost of the energy systems that use this fuel. Fuel cells are notoriously expensive due to their use of expensive materials like platinum. The cost of fuel cells has proven inhibitive for some that have expressed interest in hydrogen fuel, forcing these parties to turn to other forms of renewable energy that are significantly less expensive. Finding a way to make fuel cells less expensive has been a high priority for the fuel cell industry.
Research team uses solar energy to produce hydrogen
Researchers around the world have been focusing their efforts on discovering ways to make fuel cells more affordable. Researchers from France’s Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology have come together for an ambitious hydrogen fuel project that aims to develop a fuel cell that is unlike any conventional model. The team has created a photoelectrochemical fuel cell that is capable of harnessing the power of the sun to produce hydrogen fuel.
Fuel cell responsible for low-cost hydrogen production
The fuel cell is able to make use of solar energy to separate water molecules into both hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen can be used to generate electrical power in nearly all conventional fuel cells. This type of fuel cell is not exactly new, but researchers have been able to identify the most efficient way for these fuel cells to produce hydrogen fuel sunlight. The team suggests that by forming a highly optimized structure for electron transmission, the cost of the fuel cell can be reduced by approximately half of the cost of conventional models.
Low-cost production could be a boon for the fuel cell industry
Using solar energy to produce hydrogen fuel is not necessarily a new idea, but it is one that has only become quite popular in recent years. Using solar power to produce hydrogen fuel removes the need for fossil-fuels like natural gas, which are the primary way to produce hydrogen today. Renewable hydrogen fuel production could have many promising implications for the world of clean transportation as well as other sectors that have been growing more interested in renewable energy.