Renewable, “Green” energy still remains a bit of a pipe dream. It will take at least a couple of decades to move from our Petroleum-based economy to something new even if there is a ground-shattering break-through.
One of the most promising technologies has been hydrogen. It’s difficult to generate on a small-scale, and is even more difficult to transport to filling stations around the country. About the only place where there has been a successful hydrogen program in place has been Iceland, where they use geo-thermal heat to power stations which convert water into its two basic elements: oxygen and hydrogen. Once the hydrogen is generated it can be either burned or fed into a fuel cell which then re-combines oxygen and hydrogen, generating electricity and water in the process.
Now there’s a new technology on the horizon which is being developed by HyperSolar, a company out of Santa Barbara, CA, which holds incredible promise in generating inexpensive, renewable hydrogen locally.
They can literally create hydrogen in a “Baggie.” Ultimately, if the technology can be successfully brought to market, we could be filling up a small car’s tank with water, parking it in the sun as we’re at work or at home, and drive it away with no non-“green” footprint at all.
“Using our self-contained particle in a low cost plastic bag, we have successfully demonstrated our ability to mimic photosynthesis to produce renewable hydrogen from virtually any source of water using the power of the Sun,” commented Tim Young, CEO of HyperSolar. “Unlike approaches taken by others in the past, our small scale solar devices actually float in the water. Our next step is to complete the development of our nanoparticles, extremely small solar devices, optimized to significantly reduce the cost of separating hydrogen from water.”
A video showing the proof of concept prototype is available at the company’s website,www.hypersolar.com. It features the self-contained particle floating in a common baggy filled with wastewater from a pulp and paper mill. The video clearly shows hydrogen bubbles being generated in the small baggy. The company’s next prototype will feature nanoparticles, which can be mass-produced at a low cost and can float freely in large scale bag systems to generate large quantities of renewable hydrogen, the cleanest and greenest of all fuels, using only sunlight and water.
Young concluded, “We believe we are on the right track to produce the lowest cost renewable hydrogen. Most hydrogen used today is not renewable and not very clean because it is produced from finite hydrocarbon sources, such as oil, coal and natural gas. Renewable hydrogen produced from nearly infinite sources of water and sunlight, is clean and carbon free. The worldwide impact of using renewable hydrogen to generate electricity and power fuel cell vehicles would be extraordinary.”
HyperSolar recently entered into a yearlong sponsored research agreement with the University of California, Santa Barbara to help accelerate the development process and assure that the key milestones are reached.