HyperSolar working with Suzhou GH New Energy to accelerate manufacturing of renewable solar hydrogen panels
HyperSolar, Inc., the developer of a technology to produce renewable hydrogen using sunlight and water (earlier post), is working with Suzhou GH New Energy Co. Ltd., a division of GCL Poly, in China to make the final modifications to the solar cells required to manufacture the Gen 1 hydrogen production panels to be used in demonstration pilot plants.
December, 2019 video of the operation of HyperSolar Gen 1 prototype. The panel produces oxygen on the catalyst in the frontside and hydrogen in the backside of the panel. The panel has a modular design that can be scaled up for a larger panel with the ability to change out individual cells.
While we have experienced some delays in processing due to COVID-19, the work in China is now ongoing. We have evaluated many suppliers globally and have found that our connection to Suzhou GH has been our best and most reliable option. Our relationship with them has also connected us to other high-quality and economical suppliers for the processing of the cells and building modules.—Tim Young, CEO of HyperSolar
In 2019, China issued Patent No. ZL201580026002.0 allowing protection for HyperSolar’s intellectual property in China related to using multi-junction solar cells to produce hydrogen. To further support the economics of the new panel, there is currently no tariff on the solar cells the company buys from China.
In September 2019, HyperSolar announced that development of its Gen 1 hydrogen generation system had progressed to the point at which it could move from the lab to manufacturing engineering before full commercial production of the hydrogen panels. This in turn would lead the way to the company’s first pilot-scale solar-hydrogen farm.
The Gen 1 unit uses commercially available low-cost triple-junction silicon solar cells for designing self-contained hydrogen generating PEC cell and panels array to obtain pilot data that will be applied for Gen 2.
Key milestones required to reach that point included fine-tuning of chemical structure and application of protective coatings to extend the life of the hydrogen-generating cells. Additionally, the attachment of the catalyst and the mechanical alteration of the cells essential for more significant hydrogen generation and capture were refined to the point that it could be optimized for manufacturing.
In November of 2018, HyperSolar announced its intention to build a demonstration pilot plant; that became the focus of intensive effort in the laboratory as well as working with contract manufacturers and engineering firms for assembly and plant construction.
While its patented nanoparticle (Gen 2) technology is still in development, HyperSolar believes it can utilize its proprietary stability coatings and catalysts with readily available commercial solar cells encapsulated in panels with water (“hydrogen generation panels”) to demonstrate a completely renewable hydrogen generation system at production pilot plant scale.
The pilot plant itself will be a full plug and play facility which will be initially designed with the Gen 1 technology. Gen 2 will use easily scalable low-cost electrochemical processing for manufacturing multi-junction nanoparticles for PEC production of hydrogen. The nanoparticle arrays will replace Gen 1.
As the company’s more advanced and efficient units come available, previous technology can be replaced without changing the plant infrastructure.
Hypersolar progressively worked on modifying the configuration of the solar hydrogen generation panels for better product quality, lower cost and efficient manufacturing.