HyperSolar has announced that the company has achieved a significant technological milestone in its pursuit of clean hydrogen fuel production, by eliminating an expensive hydrogen-oxygen separation process.

This will dramatically reduce the overall system cost of hydrogen fuel production from sunlight.

Self-contained sunlight driven water-splitting technology, also commonly referred to as “artificial photosynthesis,” typically produces hydrogen and oxygen gas bubbles in the same reactor. This hydrogen-oxygen gas mixture is potentially explosive and must be quickly separated from each other. Current gas separation technology uses selective membranes and is very expensive and the membranes need to frequently be replaced.

HyperSolar has developed a novel reactor design and system architecture that uses a high voltage solar cell, that can be wrapped in the company’s patent pending polymer coating, that serves two functions: (1) convert sunlight into electricity to split water into hydrogen on one side, and oxygen on the other side, and (2) acts as a physical barrier preventing oxygen from combining with hydrogen. The respective hydrogen and oxygen gas bubbles to the top of the reactor as two separate and pure gas streams. This novel design circumvents the need for membrane separators all together.

“Artificial photosynthesis and the concept of separating hydrogen from oxygen has been linked to having great ‘potential’ for some time,” said Tim Young, CEO of HyperSolar.

“With this novel reactor design, we believe that we are much closer to eliminating the aspects of the hydrogen production process which many have considered unsafe, costly and inefficient. This breakthrough will support our ultimate goal of cost-effectively producing hydrogen fuel at or near the point of distribution, for use in both consumer and industrial industry sectors.”

HyperSolar’s technology is based on the concept of developing a low-cost, submersible hydrogen production particle that can split water molecules using sunlight without any other external systems or resources – acting as artificial photosynthesis.

HyperSolar is currently funding a sponsored research agreement with UCSB to further the development of its renewable hydrogen technology.