Green Hydrogen Production by Water-Splitting Method: by Yale School & Applied Sciences - India Renewable Energy Consulting – Solar, Biomass, Wind, Cleantech
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Green Hydrogen Production by Water-Splitting Method: by Yale School & Applied Sciences

Here’s an article posted in Technology Networks.

According to the article,

  • A team at the Yale School of Engineering and Applied Sciences is designing a device to produce green hydrogen, not sourced from fossil fuels.
  • The device manufactures green hydrogen in roughly three steps: sunlight is absorbed by photo-absorbers, which generate charges and transport them to the catalyst. The catalyst then uses the charges to split water into hydrogen and oxygen.

Let’s break down the process:

  1. Direct Solar Water Splitting: In this method, photoelectrodes are developed to convert sunlight into electrical energy, which drives the water-splitting reaction. These photoelectrodes consist of light absorbers coupled with catalyst materials to form the active component of a PEC cell. The advantage of PEC cells is that they can utilize the heat from sunlight to accelerate reactions, and they can use abundant and inexpensive materials as catalysts.
  2. Challenges with Direct Approach: Despite advancements, the direct approach hasn’t been as economically viable as other methods like electrolysis. Techno-economic analyses have shown that the current cost of hydrogen production using PEC systems is relatively high, around 10 USD/kg, compared to 1.5 USD/kg for hydrogen from fossil methane steam reforming.
  3. Introducing Co-Production of Chemicals: To address the economic viability of PEC technology, researchers propose utilizing some of the produced hydrogen for further reactions in the same reactor, forming valuable chemicals like methyl succinic acid (MSA). These reactions occur in-situ, meaning they happen within the same system without needing additional infrastructure.
  4. Energy Payback Times: Energy payback time refers to the time it takes for the energy invested in producing the PEC cell to be recovered through the production of chemical energy (hydrogen or MSA). Calculations show that by using even a small portion (2-30%) of the produced hydrogen for MSA production, the energy payback time can be significantly reduced. For instance, if 30% of the hydrogen is converted into MSA, the production energy can be regained after just 2 years, compared to around 17 years for hydrogen alone.
  5. Flexibility and Economic Feasibility: The system is designed to be flexible, capable of producing various valuable chemicals depending on the needs of the site. By utilizing the same infrastructure with minor modifications for different chemical production, the investment costs remain largely unchanged. This approach offers a promising way to reduce the production cost of green hydrogen and increase the economic feasibility of PEC technology.

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About Narasimhan Santhanam (Narsi)

Narsi, a Director at EAI, Co-founded one of India's first climate tech consulting firm in 2008.

Since then, he has assisted over 250 Indian and International firms, across many climate tech domain Solar, Bio-energy, Green hydrogen, E-Mobility, Green Chemicals.

Narsi works closely with senior and top management corporates and helps then devise strategy and go-to-market plans to benefit from the fast growing Indian Climate tech market.


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