HyperSolar, the developer of a breakthrough technology to produce renewable hydrogen using sunlight and water, has discussed the importance of understanding how hydrogen fuel is produced and implemented into hydrogen fuelling station infrastructure.

Recent product rollout announcements from auto manufacturers including Hyundai and Toyota, partnerships between Plug Power and brands like Walmart and Ace Hardware, and California’s recent investment and commitment to building 100 hydrogen fuelling stations - have sparked widespread support and analysis of the hydrogen fuel cell industry. However, as HyperSolar is quick to note, there is uncertainty from the public and private sectors as to where the hydrogen is produced that is to fuel these innovative technologies and infrastructure.

The key differentiator in hydrogen fuel production is the source from which it’s developed. Currently, most current and planned hydrogen fuelling stations dispense hydrogen fuel produced from natural gas, which is known as “brown hydrogen.” Like other fossil fuels, natural gas emits carbon into the environment when converted to useable fuel. By comparison, hydrogen fuel produced from renewable resources such as wind or solar, known as “green hydrogen,” is developed via a much cleaner process in which the only by-product is water. Despite natural gas being the dominant source of hydrogen, there is a growing opportunity for renewable production technology.

In fact, according to a Union of Concerned Scientists article from May 2014, at least 33% of the hydrogen provided at a company’s California filling stations must come from renewable sources to meet the standard.

“Recently, countries including the United States, Japan, Denmark, the UK, and others continue to push for hydrogen fuel developments, making it crucial for renewable technologies to play a larger role in production, eliminating carbon emissions and providing the market with a cleaner product,” said Tim Young, CEO of HyperSolar. “Regulations requiring renewable production provide significant market opportunity for HyperSolar. Our low cost, submersible semiconductor technology does not require any fossil fuel component, making the process truly as ‘green’ as possible. We are confident that our technology is capable of producing renewable hydrogen fuel at or near the point of distribution, and at a cost reasonable enough to ensure industrial scalability.”

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.