Low-Cost Renewable Hydrogen from Sunlight and Water

Steven Y. Reece

Sun Catalytix Corporation, 325 Vassar Street, Suite 1A, Cambridge, MA 02139, U.S.A.

e-mail: streece@suncatalytix.com

URL: http://www.suncatalytix.com/team.html


Sunlight constitutes abundant, clean, and widely distributed energy supply. This natural resource provides an alternative to fossil fuel-based energy. Effective utilization of renewables, however, demands storage such that a high quality energy supply may be provided when the sun doesn't shine. Sun Catalytix is a startup company founded in 2008 (Cambridge, MA) with the mission of delivering high quality and affordable energy storage and renewable fuel technologies. With cutting edge catalyst science from MIT, we have begun to develop revolutionary technology for the low-cost capture, conversion, and storage of solar energy in the chemical bonds of a distributed and abundant natural resource: water. To accomplish this feat, we have looked to nature for inspiration. Plant leaves convert sunlight and water (+ carbon dioxide) into oxygen and fuel through the process of photosynthesis. The Sun Catalytix process, recently featured in Science (Nov 4, 2011), may be thought of as an artificial photosynthesis: the use of light absorbing semiconductors and earth-abundant, fuel forming catalysts for the conversion of sunlight and water into oxygen gas and hydrogen fuel. This talk will describe both panel- and solution-based approaches to the production of solar hydrogen.