HyperSolar, a company that is engaged in developing technology to produce renewable hydrogen using sunlight and water, has announced its intention to build a pilot production plant to demonstrate the commercial viability of its first generation system in a real world environment.
HyperSolar’s intensive laboratory research and development efforts over the last seven years have resulted in multiple innovations in renewable hydrogen. While its patented nanoparticle technology is still in development, the company’s management believes it can utilise its proprietary stability coatings and catalysts with readily available commercial solar cells encapsulated in panels with water (‘hydrogen generation panels’) to demonstrate a completely renewable hydrogen generation system at production plant scale.
The company’s management is currently negotiating with various suppliers to manufacture the quantity of hydrogen generation panels required for its pilot production plant. Once a lead contract manufacturer has been selected, HyperSolar’s technology team must transfer its lab processes and techniques to production engineers to complete the commercialisation of the hydrogen generation panels.
HyperSolar intends to design and manufacture its hydrogen generation panels in such a way that they can be interchanged and that the second-generation nanoparticle technology can be inserted and utilised without changing the plant infrastructure, thereby allowing for extensive testing and improvement in economics and efficiency.
The company is currently in discussions to retain the services of an engineering firm with industrial gas experience to design and build its production pilot plant. Engineering challenges include handling the capture, pressurisation, and storage of the produced renewable hydrogen.
Ideally, the plant will be located at or near a large fulfillment or distribution centre where extensive hydrogen fuel cell forklifts and materials handling equipment is being utilised. The key difference will be that HyperSolar’s renewable hydrogen will be replacing a portion of the hydrogen produced using methane-steam-reforming. Steam-reforming accounts for over 95 percent of the hydrogen production today and while the emission of the hydrogen is pure water, the manufacturing process still uses a fossil fuel in natural gas and releases tons of carbon emissions into the atmosphere.
“We are very excited about the prospect of moving out of the lab and into a real-world environment where our hard work and the efforts of our development partners (The University of Iowa and University of California, Santa Barbara) can be showcased and demonstrated to potential customers,” stated Tim Young, CEO of HyperSolar.
HyperSolar’s continuing research is focused on developing a completely renewable, low-cost and submersible hydrogen production particle that can split water molecules using the power of 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.