© Flinfo
© Flinfo

Project aims to improve solar-based hydrogen

The technology demonstration of large-scale photo-electrochemical system for solar hydrogen production (PECSYS) project is set to develop an economically feasible technology for solar-based hydrogen generation.

Project partners from Germany, Sweden and Italy plan to build an array of modules covering ten square meters that converts more than 6% of the incident solar energy into hydrogen, while maintaining stable operation for at least six months.

According to Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin for Materials and Energy (HZB) this should be achieved by testing photovoltaic cells based on different materials such as silicon and chalcogenides, as well as tandem cells based on metal halide perovskites, together with electro-catalysts and membranes to develop protective layers.

Dr Sonya Calnan, the spokesperson of the project and a researcher at HZB said: “The aims of the project are ambitious and very definite: The demonstrator system to be developed is expected to be realised on an area of at least ten square meters, to convert more than 6% of the incident solar energy into hydrogen and to maintain stable operation for at least six months.

“Also, the cost of the so-generated hydrogen should be less than €5 per kilogramme. For comparison: the actual market price for hydrogen is about €8 per kilogramme.”

The ultimate goal of the project is to develop an integrated device that can stably operate under extreme environmental conditions and to identify a system that is most appropriate for industrial production.

The project will run for four years and has €2.5m of funding under the Horizon 2020 framework.