SANTA BARBARA, USA: HyperSolar Inc., the developer of a breakthrough technology to produce renewable hydrogen and natural gas using water and solar power, has entered into a year-long sponsored research agreement with the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) to help achieve important milestones in the company’s development plan.
“We are very excited about this opportunity to gain access to the talents and state-of-the-art facilities of one of the world’s top universities for scientific impact,” said Tim Young, CEO of HyperSolar. “UCSB is world renown for its scientific accomplishments. The Center for Science and Technologies Studies at Leiden University in the Netherlands recently ranked UCSB 7th of 500 major universities in the world for scientific impact. This comes on top of many other distinctions the campus has received in recent years, including the award of 5 Nobel prizes to faculty members.”
The agreement with UCSB will enable HyperSolar to refine its solar-powered nanoparticle technology for generating zero carbon hydrogen and renewable natural gas using sunlight, water and carbon dioxide (CO2). The research project will be led by Professor Eric McFarland in the Department of Chemical Engineering at UCSB.
The major milestones in the agreement include: (1) a proof-of-concept heterostructure for hydrogen production using photovoltaic elements; (2) analysis of the feedstock potential of wastewater; (3) a complete photoreactor prototype for sustained hydrogen production; and (4) optimized nanoparticulate heterostructures using low-cost semiconducting materials.
Dr. McFarland commented: “We look forward to assisting HyperSolar with this research project. For almost a century, scientists have tried to ‘split water’ to produce hydrogen and oxygen in a cost effective manner. Researchers around the world have built an enormous knowledge base about the problems and opportunities in renewable hydrogen production which we will draw on. I believe that HyperSolar’s plan to use wastewater as a feedstock for hydrogen and methane production is a very promising approach. Our research team looks forward to applying our experimental knowledge to this very exciting and meaningful project.”
Unlike conventional electrolysis, where hydrogen and oxygen atoms are completely disassociated using a large voltage, HyperSolar designed its reactions to use a very small voltage and only produce hydrogen (H2). By elegantly engineering the reaction kinetics toward H2 generation in conjunction with 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 to hydrogen production. This hydrogen can then be combined with captured CO2 to produce renewable, pipeline ready natural gas.