An innovative process, which produces hydrogen using just water and solar power, has been emphasized today by the company behind the idea – HyperSolar.

This innovative process positions the company to increase the voltage needed to produce renewable hydrogen using only sunlight.

HyperSolar technology is based on the development of a process that mimics artificial photosynthesis, requiring only sunlight to separate water from hydrogen. This process generally requires voltages of more than 1.5 volts (V), yet current commercially available low-cost silicon solar cells can achieve only 0.7V.

In order to break this voltage barrier, HyperSolar is developing a technology that will replace the conventional and expensive vapor deposition process required to make the solar cell component.

To address this challenge, the company’s University of Iowa research team has developed an innovative and patent protected water-based process where solar cell materials are stacked on top of each other literally by “dipping” into low-cost beakers of solutions containing appropriate chemistries. This significant achievement relies on the water-based chemistries used to produce this solar cell component, one that requires inexpensive earth abundant materials, rather than rare earth materials.

This recent breakthrough in the manufacturing process is believed to represent a major hurdle crossed towards achieving a prototype solar driven hydrogen production unit with photovoltage more than 1.5V. Conventional solar-powered water electrolyzers used to produce hydrogen are considered expensive and not viable for large-scale commercialization. However, HyperSolar’s solar hydrogen production unit can theoretically be manufactured in large scale.

“This breakthrough within the manufacturing process strengthens the company’s key objectives of driving down cost while improving efficiency,” said Tim Young, CEO of HyperSolar.

“The largest obstacles in the hydrogen fuel sector are widely associated with production costs that will result in expensive barrier to entry for commercial and consumer use. We believe that our simple, low-cost techniques will move us closer to a renewable hydrogen-energy driven economy.”

“By addressing the fundamentals of production, HyperSolar has taken a great leap forward as a potential solution for producing renewable hydrogen at or near the point of distribution.”