Thermochemical solar hydrogen generation

  • Licht S
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Abstract

Solar direct, indirect and hybrid thermochemical processes are presented for the generation of hydrogen and compared to alternate solar hydrogen processes. A hybrid solar thermal/electrochemical process combines efficient photovoltaics and concentrated excess sub-bandgap heat into highly efficient elevated temperature solar electrolysis of water and generation of H-2 fuel utilizing the thermodynamic temperature induced decrease of E-H2O with increasing temperature. Theory and experiment is presented for this process using semiconductor bandgap restrictions and combining photodriven charge transfer, with excess sub-bandgap insolation to lower the water potential, and their combination into highly efficient solar generation of H-2 is attainable. Fundamental water thermodynamics and solar photosensitizer constraints determine solar energy to hydrogen fuel conversion efficiencies in the 50% range over a wide range of insolation, temperature, pressure and photosensitizer bandgap conditions.

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  • S Licht

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