HyperSolar is to build a hydrogen (H2) production pilot plant to demonstrate the commercial viability of its first-generation system in a real-world environment.
The company’s intensive laboratory research and development efforts over the last seven years have resulted in multiple innovations in renewable H2.
While its patented nanoparticle technology is still in development, the company’s management believes it can utilise its proprietary stability coatings and catalysts with readily available commercial solar cells encapsulated in panels with water (H2 generation panels) to demonstrate a completely renewable H2 generation system at production pilot plant scale.
HyperSolar’s management is currently negotiating with various suppliers to manufacture the quantity of H2 generation panels required for its production pilot plant. Once a lead contract manufacturer has been selected, the company’s technology team must transfer its lab processes and techniques to production engineers to complete the commercialisation of the H2 generation panels.
The company intends to design and manufacture its H2 generation panels in such a way that they can be interchanged and that the company’s second-generation nanoparticle technology can be inserted and utilised without changing the plant infrastructure, thereby allowing for extensive testing and improvement in economics and efficiency.
HyperSolar is currently in discussions to retain the services of an engineering firm with industrial gas experience to design and build its production pilot plant. Engineering challenges include handling the capture, pressurization, and storage of the produced renewable H2.
Ideally, the production pilot plant will be located at or near a large fulfillment or distribution centre where extensive H2 fuel cell forklifts and materials handling equipment is being utilised. The key difference will be that HyperSolar’s renewable H2 will be replacing a portion of the H2 produced using methane-steam-reforming. Steam-reforming accounts for over 95% of the H2 production today and while the emission of the H2 is pure water, the manufacturing process still uses a fossil fuel in natural gas and releases tons of carbon emissions into the atmosphere.
“We are very excited about the prospect of moving out of the lab and into a real-world environment where our hard work and the efforts of our development partners (The University of Iowa and University of California, Santa Barbara) can be showcased and demonstrated to potential customers,” stated Tim Young, CEO of HyperSolar.
HyperSolar’s continuing research is focused on developing a completely renewable, low-cost and submersible H2 production particle that can split water molecules using the power of the sun, emulating the core functions of photosynthesis.
Each particle is a complete H2 generator that contains a novel high voltage solar cell bonded to chemical catalysts by a proprietary encapsulation coating.