Project TitleProcess for Production of Hydrogen Fuel from Solar Power (16038)
Track Code16038
Short DescriptionNone

Process for Production of Hydrogen Fuel from Solar Power (16038)


Features and Benefits

  • System with potential to convert ocean water to energy-dense, clean hydrogen fuel while minimizing balance-of-system costs

  • Potential to provide energy to a variety of industries using readily available ocean water

  • Demonstrated in initial testing to convert ocean water resources at the same efficiency as competing freshwater technology 

 *This Technology is available for licensing, further development, or industrial partnering*


Market Opportunities

Solar energy is a key renewable resource for meeting global energy needs in an environmentally sustainable manner. Traditional solar energy utilities require large amounts of land, typically in a desert, to produce power equivalent to a fossil fuel utility. Additionally, to provide reliable and continuous energy generation, they must be coupled with cost-effective energy storage to overcome the infrequency of sunlight.



UofL researchers have demonstrated an indirect route to create hydrogen fuel from seawater. The researchers were able to demonstrate that a solar seawater vapor splitting system could produce hydrogen from vast ocean water resources at the same efficiency as current photo-electrolysis systems that require purified freshwater. In initial studies, direct solar driven hydrogen production from seawater vapor was maintained for over 90 hours. Traditional water electrolysis in seawater is often hampered by salt and other impurities; this technology mitigates that issue because atmospheric water vapor over the sea is largely free of contaminants.


(Figure) A solar buoy system could be laid out in a serpentine arrangement to maximize photoactive area per system footprint. Cross-sectional schematic with a breathable membrane excludes liquid seawater while permitting passage of water vapor. The flow field could maximize the photoactive area relative to the system footprint for total renewable energy production.


Technology Status

  • IP Status: Patent Pending
  • Development Status: Proof of Concept
  • Publications: “Solar hydrogen production from seawater vapor electrolysis.” Energy Environ. Sci., 2016, 9, 1725-1733. 



Dr. Joshua Spurgeon

Dr. Sudesh Kumari

Tagsenergy, clean tech, environmental, renewable energy, hydrogen
Posted DateJun 15, 2016 10:53 AM


File Name Description
Marketing Abstract 16038 Marketing Abstract for ULRF 16036. PDF. Download
Figure 1.png None Download