Maverick cleantech firm HyperSolar, Inc. today unveiled details of its plan to develop the world’s first nanotechnology-based, zero-carbon process for the production of renewable hydrogen and natural gas.
“Our research and development to date gives us a high degree of confidence that our innovative process can achieve commercial viability,” said Tim Young, CEO of the Santa Barbara, California-based company.
“Starting with a negative value feedstock in the form of wastewater and operating in low cost reactors, we believe that our artificial photosynthesis process of extracting hydrogen from water will be cost effective,” Young said.
Unlike conventional expensive hydrogen technology that splits water molecules (H20) into hydrogen (H2) and oxygen (O2), HyperSolar is using a low cost nanotechnology approach.
By engineering the reaction kinetics toward H2 generation only with the help of wastewater, the HyperSolar nanoparticles function as one-way machines that detoxify wastewater, and produce clean water and pure hydrogen in the presence of sunlight.
No other energy source is required, making this an extremely economical and commercially viable approach for the production of zero-carbon, renewable hydrogen, Young said.
The company plans to roll out a robust prototype of the technology in 2013.
Between now and then, the development ream will develop:
A proof-of-concept microparticle for hydrogen production using conventional photovoltaic elements; An analysis of the feedstock potential of multiple wastewater sources; A complete photoreactor prototype for sustained hydrogen production, and Design of nanoparticles using low-cost semiconducting materials.
After the hydrogen nanoparticles are optimized, the process of reacting hydrogen with carbon dioxide to make a renewable natural gas is relatively straightforward.
HyperSolar said in a written statement that its two-stage process will allow for the production of two very valuable global commodities – hydrogen and natural gas.
The company 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.