Researchers develop new hydrogen fuel production system

August 26, 2016 0 By Stephen Vagus

Hydrogen can be used as a way to store clean energy

Hydrogen is often used to generate electrical power by clean energy systems, but it can also serve as an efficient means to store energy. Storage solutions for renewable energy systems are becoming more important as clean power grows as more of a priority for many countries. According to researchers from the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne and the Swiss Center for Electronics and Microtechnology, hydrogen can serve as  an efficient and effective means of chemical storage, making renewable energy a more attractive prospect for those looking to distance themselves from fossil-fuels.

Hydrogen fuel production powered by renewable energy allows for promising storage opportunities

Using hydrogen to store clean energy is a relatively simple concept. The process relies on water electrolysis. When clean energy systems generate electricity, this power is used to facilitate electrolysis, which produces hydrogen. This hydrogen can then be stored for long periods of time in an efficient manner. When electricity is needed, fuel cells can consume the hydrogen to generate energy as necessary.

New hydrogen fuel production system holds great promise

Hydrogen Fuel Production - ResearchResearchers note that several hydrogen production solutions already exist, but these solutions are either too unreliable or much to expensive to be considered viable for commercialization. In order to solve this issue, the researchers have combined existing production technologies that have already proven viable in the hydrogen industry in order to create a new electrolysis system. The system relies on solar energy in order to facilitate hydrogen fuel production. According to the research team, the system can convert solar energy into hydrogen at an efficiency rate of 14.2% and has already operated for more than 100 hours without issue.

New system has operated over 100 hours without failure

The new hydrogen fuel production system has significant promise. Researchers have found that the system is able to efficiently produce enough hydrogen to power a fuel cell vehicle for more than 10,000 kilometers every year.  Moreover, the system has proven to be quite stable, ensuring the reliable production of hydrogen as needed. When the hydrogen produced is not immediately needed to generate electricity, it is stored elsewhere for later use.