one green planet
one green planet

Swiss researchers have achieved a significant milestone in green hydrogen production using solar energy, breaking the 1-kilowatt ceiling and opening up new commercialization opportunities. This innovative system, developed by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL), efficiently converts solar energy into hydrogen fuel while producing useful byproducts, oxygen and heat.

Dubbed “artificial photosynthesis,” this system mimics natural processes using a 23-foot-diameter dish to concentrate the sun’s radiation power nearly 1,000 times. Photoelectrochemical cells, powered by the concentrated solar radiation, split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen when water is piped into the system. This process generates heat, which can be repurposed through a heat exchanger.

Unlike traditional hydrogen production methods, which involve breaking down natural gas and releasing CO2, this solar-powered process generates green hydrogen without producing any carbon dioxide. Researchers have successfully scaled up this lab experiment into a real-world example of green hydrogen production, achieving a record-high efficiency with an output power of over 2 kilowatts.

The EPFL’s spinoff company, SoHHytec, has already begun exploring commercial applications for this technology. In partnership with a Swiss-based metal production facility, SoHHytec is using hydrogen for metal annealing processes, oxygen for medical applications in nearby hospitals, and heat for the factory’s hot water needs.

SoHHytec’s co-founder and CEO, Saurabh Tembhurne, announced plans to scale up the system even further with an “artificial garden-like setup” where modular “artificial trees” can be deployed. Researchers believe this technology can work well in residential or commercial settings, providing heating and hot water while powering hydrogen fuel cells, which could charge electric vehicles.

Currently, hydrogen is mainly used in creating fertilizer and supporting oil refining, but experts envision using it to power trucks, airplanes, homes, and businesses. The EPFL team also plans to explore splitting carbon dioxide in the future, further expanding the potential applications of this groundbreaking technology.

To Support this push for green energy, we encourage you to stay informed about sustainable innovations, promote renewable energy solutions, and advocate for cleaner, more sustainable practices in your community. By working together, we can make a difference and pave the way towards a greener future.

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