Hypersolar nears voltage level for direct solar hydrogen production without expensive electrolyzer

HyperSolar, the developer of a breakthrough technology to produce renewable hydrogen using sunlight and any source of water, announced that its artificial photosynthesis technology is now capable of producing 1.0 volt open circuit voltage for use in direct solar hydrogen production. This achievement represents a dramatic voltage increase over the previous 0.2 volt just 8 months ago, and 0.75 volt just 3 months ago.

It is well known that the theoretical voltage for splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen is 1.23 volts, and approximately 1.5 volts in real-world systems. Achieving 1.5 volts using inexpensive solar cells has eluded the world. For example, silicon solar cells are the most inexpensive and abundant, but their 0.7 volt is not enough to split water. Commercially available high voltage solar cells are unfortunately too expensive for use in hydrogen production.

HyperSolar is developing and intends to market a novel solar hydrogen generator that eliminates the expensive electrolyzer by integrating the electrolysis function directly into a solar cell.

HyperSolar’s research is centered on developing a low-cost and submersible hydrogen production particle that can split water molecules under the sun, emulating the core functions of photosynthesis. Each particle is a complete hydrogen generator that contains a novel high voltage solar cell bonded to chemical catalysts by a proprietary encapsulation coating. HyperSolar recently extended its sponsored research agreement with UCSB to further the development.

While 1.0 volt may not be commercially viable for water splitting, it is viable in high value photo-catalysis application in the chemical industry, such as bromine extraction from wastewater. HyperSolar intends to explore those opportunities as part of its overall commercialization strategy.

early proof-of-concept prototype

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