October 6, 2008
Tuned power doubles solar hydrogen
Carefully match the electrical output
from solar cells to the input of an electrolyzer and you can double
the efficiency of the process that extracts hydrogen from water.
A test system at the General Motors R&D Center in Michigan
achieved 12 percent efficiency by directly connecting a commercial
solar electric generator to a commercial electrolyzer and tuning the
devices' voltages to match each other.
Initial results at lower efficiencies produced enough hydrogen
in a day to power a fuel-cell electric car for 30 miles, which is
about the average distance an urban commuter travels a day.
Researchers are in the early stages of combining photovoltaics
and electrolysis in a single device, but that technology is many years
from being commercially viable. Improving the efficiency of existing
technologies could help make hydrogen vehicles practical.
of Solar Powered Hydrogen Production Using Photovoltaic Electrolysis
International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, published online
September 26, 2008
and Environmental Sciences Laboratory, General Motors R&D Center
Related stories and briefs:
catalyst makes hydrogen from biofuel -- related development
catalyst boosts solar hydrogen prospects -- related development
Solar-Powered, High-Efficiency Hydrogen Fueling System Using High-Pressure
Electrolysis of Water: Design and Initial Results -- slide presentation
on initial results
optimization of a solar photovoltaic powered electrolyzer system
-- patent application
to reduce the cost of renewable hydrogen fuel generation by electrolysis
using combined solar and grid power -- patent application
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