Lab result, usual caveat:
New hybrid photocatalyst for highly efficient hydrogen production from water
Researchers at the University of Central Florida, with colleagues at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and Tsinghua University, developed a new hybrid nanomaterial—a nonmetal plasmonic MoS2@TiO2 heterostructure—for highly efficient photocatalytic H2 generation from water.
As reported in an open access paper in the RSC journal Energy & Environmental Science, the new catalyst is not only able to harvest a much broader spectrum of light than other materials, but can also stand up to the harsh conditions found in seawater. . . .
Fabricating the catalyst is relatively easy and inexpensive. Yang’s team is continuing its research by focusing on the best way to scale up the fabrication, and further improve its performance so it’s possible to split hydrogen from wastewater.
From the original UCF article on the work
UCFToday wrote:In many situations, producing a chemical fuel from solar energy is a better solution than producing electricity from solar panels, he said. That electricity must be stored in batteries, which degrade, while hydrogen gas is easily stored and transported.
a statement which needs quite a bit of qualification and a bit of correction. First, the correction: You'd be very hard-pressed to make the case that hydrogen is more easily transported than electricity. Nikola Tesla invented an amazingly effective electricity transportation system which has been implemented in this country. Transportation of hydrogen is much more difficult by comparison. Second, hydrogen storage may
be cheaper than electricity storage when it is stored for longer periods of time. For day-to-day use, it is much safer, cheaper and more efficient to convert sunlight directly into electricity and store it in batteries. Storing energy in the form of hydrogen is orders of magnitude more expensive. There may
be a time frame on the order of weeks beyond which it is cheaper to store energy as hydrogen than in batteries, but that is not a given because the production and consumption of hydrogen is so inefficient and expensive. Unfortunately, there are likely other forms of energy storage, such as ARES
, which are cheaper, safer, AND more efficient than hydrogen for longer-terrm storage.
Finally, I suspect this new "highly efficient" process is not nearly as efficient or affordable as using photovoltaics and an electrolyzer if/when you want some hydrogen.