New project aims to use solar energy to produce hydrogen fuel

New project aims to use solar energy to produce hydrogen fuel

February 2, 2017 1 By Tami Hood

Ambitious new project launched in Germany

A new project has been launched in Germany which seeks to leverage the power of the sun to generate hydrogen fuel. The PECSYS project is being coordinated by the Competence Center Thin Film and Nanotechnology for Photovoltaics Berlin (PVcomB). The project is meant to address the issues facing solar energy generation. These issues are difficult to overcome, because they have to do with the simple nature of the world. For instance, solar panels cannot produce electricity during the night or when the sun is hidden behind heavy cloud cover. Using solar power to produce hydrogen fuel could solve these problems, however.

PECSYS project will use solar power to generate hydrogen fuel

The PECSYS project will use photovoltaic cells to power electro-catalysts. These catalysts will use electricity to split water into its base components of oxygen and hydrogen. The hydrogen fuel produced this way will then be stored for later use. Fuel cells can consume the hydrogen in order to produce electrical power. This removes the need for battery systems and will allow for the more efficient storage of surplus electrical power generated by sunlight.

New production system aims to be highly efficient

The project will develop a demonstration system that will be used to generate hydrogen fuel. The system is expected to be smaller than 10-square-meters and will use 6% of the electricity produced by an existing solar power system to generate hydrogen. The goal is to have the system operational and stable for at least six months, allowing the project to gather information on its performance and efficiency. This information will then be used to determine the ultimate viability of the hydrogen fuel production system.

Using solar energy to produce hydrogen fuel is becoming a popular concept

Solar energy and hydrogen fuel are becoming more intertwined as time goes on. Conventional hydrogen production is heavily reliant on fossil-fuels, primarily natural gas. This links hydrogen production with emissions production, making hydrogen fuel less attractive when compared to other forms of clean power. Solar energy can be used in the hydrogen fuel production process, which will make hydrogen more environmentally friendly. Several projects throughout the world have begun to focus on this endeavor, aiming to demonstrate how solar power can be used to produce hydrogen fuel.

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