Using solar energy to create renewable natural gas

HyperSolar, Inc. (OTCBB:HYSR), the developer of a breakthrough technology to make renewable natural gas using solar power, today disclosed more information from its patent application for a process to produce renewable natural gas using sunlight, water and carbon dioxide.

Inspired by the photosynthetic processes that plants use to effortlessly harness the power of the Sun to create energy molecules, HyperSolar is developing a novel solar-powered nanoparticle system that mimics photosynthesis to separate hydrogen from water. The free hydrogen can then be reacted with carbon dioxide to produce methane, the primary component in natural gas.

The company’s patent application is entitled, “Photoelectrochemically active heterostructures, methods for their manufacture, and methods and systems for producing desired products.” It discloses the company’s novel low cost manufacturing techniques, nanostructure innovations for high efficiency, and the use of freely available sunlight, waste water and carbon dioxide to produce hydrogen, methane, and other valuable chemical products.

Tim Young, HyperSolar’s CEO, commented, “For almost a century, scientists have tried and failed to ‘split water’ cost effectively to produce hydrogen and oxygen. Our process does not produce oxygen (O2), which has no significant value and is an expensive and slow reaction. Unlike conventional electrolysis, where hydrogen and oxygen atoms are completely disassociated using a large voltage, we designed our reactions to use a very small voltage and only produce hydrogen (H2).

“By elegantly engineering the reaction kinetics toward hydrogen generation in conjunction with wastewater, our nanoparticles function as one-way machines that detoxify wastewater, and produce clean water and pure hydrogen in the presence of sunlight, continued Mr. Young. “No other energy source is required, making this an extremely economical and commercially viable approach to hydrogen production — hence, renewable natural gas production.“

Unlike other approaches to hydrogen and methane production that may require high temperature and high-pressure systems, HyperSolar’s reactions are designed to occur at normal pressure and temperature. This allows for the use of very low cost and very simple reactors, such as a glass vessel or even clear plastic bag. To achieve world scale operation, HyperSolar envisions acres of very inexpensive reactors installed on vacant, non-productive land, producing massive amounts of carbon neutral methane that can be piped into the existing natural gas infrastructure for everyday use in homes, power plants, factories, and vehicles.

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Posted by on November 24, 2011. Filed under Alternative fuel, Breakthroughs, Solar power. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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