A 2 kW photo-electrosysis system from EPFL
April 18, 2023
Researchers at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) have built a photo-electrochemical system for hydrogen production that uses concentrated sunlight to directly split water into hydrogen and oxygen. Although the technology had already been extensively tested by various researchers, this is the first complete system, i.e. inclusive of all auxiliary components.
Solar energy is captured by a disc heliostat which concentrates sunlight in the focus where the photo-electrochemical reactor is placed. An electric current generated by photo-electrodes splits the water supplied to the reactor into hydrogen and oxygen. The conversion efficiency from solar radiation to hydrogen was higher than 20% with a production of 0.5 kg/day corresponding to a power of over 2 kW.
The next step could be the construction of a 100 kW plant for a Swiss customer. Since, in addition to hydrogen, the system also produces oxygen and heat as by-products, the latter could be used directly inside the company, while the oxygen could be destined for hospital use.