HyperSolar, the developer of a breakthrough technology to produce renewable hydrogen using sunlight and any source of water, today announced that it has jointly filed a non-provisional patent application along with the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB).
The application is for the “protection and stability of electroactive units used for production of fuels and chemicals.”
Tim Young, the company CEO, commented, “Recently, Honda and General Motors announced a partnership to bring hydrogen cars to the mass market by 2020. While this is great news for our industry, a major unsolved piece of the puzzle is the low cost production of renewable hydrogen for fueling stations. We believe that producing renewable hydrogen anywhere there is water and sunlight is the key to realising a cost-effective hydrogen economy of fuel cell vehicles. We envision that fueling stations can be built next to self-contained solar hydrogen production plants using our low cost technology.”
HyperSolar’s research is centered on developing a low-cost and submersible hydrogen production particle that can split water molecules under the sun — without any other external systems or wires.
A key feature of this technology is the ability to allow the solar absorber to function while submerged in water, preventing photo-corrosion or short-circuiting. The polymer coating covered in this patent application has been proven in the laboratory to do just that. The first provisional patent application was filed in September of 2012. After a year of additional refinement and experiments, a final non-provisional application with detailed claims has been filed to formally start the patent review process by the patent office.
During the research and development phase, HyperSolar has learned that this protective coating has applications beyond just hydrogen production. For example, it is observed in laboratory experiments that the protective coating can dramatically extend the number of charge/discharge cycles (life cycle) of low cost batteries, potentially solving a big problem in batteries. It works by providing superior protection to the electrodes to handle many deep discharge cycles without substantial degradation in electrochemical performance. Corroded electrodes are one of the main reasons batteries need to be replaced, increasing the operating cost of battery storage systems.
HyperSolar is developing a breakthrough, low cost technology to make renewable hydrogen using sunlight and any source of water, including seawater and wastewater. Unlike hydrocarbon fuels, such as oil, coal and natural gas, where carbon dioxide and other contaminants are released into the atmosphere when used, hydrogen fuel usage produces pure water as the only byproduct. By optimising the science of water electrolysis at the nano-level, our low cost nanoparticles mimic photosynthesis to efficiently use sunlight to separate hydrogen from water, to produce environmentally friendly renewable hydrogen. Using our low cost method to produce renewable hydrogen, we intend to enable a world of distributed hydrogen production for renewable electricity and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.