hydrogen from solar panels

A researcher from Duke University, Nico Hotz, designed a system to make our house independent from the company that provides electric energy: a hybrid system able to take advantage of sunlight to generate electricity how to produce hydrogen. During the day, the house uses the electrical energy produced by the solar panelsAnd when night falls, a generation system uses the hydrogen produced as fuel to keep everything running smoothly. Taken together, the Duke system has an average energy efficiency of 23%, a much better value than the 10% typically found in computers. Photovoltaic systems conventional.

Hotz’s system takes advantage of hours of sunlight to generate excess energy and to store in the form of hydrogen what is not used to supply electricity to the house at night. This has been implemented in many ways, the simplest being use batteries. But the problem with these types of systems is generally poor efficiency. This engineer was able to improve the performance of his system by also using sunlight to heat a solution of water and methanol flowing through a series of glass tubes. This heat, after two catalytic reactions, produces hydrogen which can be stored in fuel cells and used when photovoltaic panels are not operational.

This hybrid system is capable of achieving energy efficiency of 28.5% in summer and 18.5% in winter, which is much higher than the 5 to 15% that conventional systems achieve in summer, and 2, 5 percent to the 5 they get in winterHotz said. The engineer explains that by carrying out an exhaustive analysis of the costs associated with the implementation of his system, “This solar-methanol hybrid generator turned out to be the cheapest solution, with total installation costs being around 5,500 euros.“. This is considerably more than what we would spend if we just bought a conventional generator powered by fossil fuelsBut this has the advantage of not polluting the environment and not having to spend more money on fuel every day. The Duke University project was presented at the conference ASME Energy Sustainability Fuel Cell 2011, which brings together the research sector in the field of fuel cells and which was carried out a few days ago in Washington. Although this is an experimental system, its cost and efficiency could make it a commercial product within a few years.