Published on November 25th, 2011 | by Zachary Shahan13
Renewable Natural Gas from CO2, Water, & Sunlight
November 25th, 2011 by Zachary Shahan
HyperSolar has filed a patent application for a “breakthrough technology” that creates renewable natural gas from sunlight, water and carbon dioxide.
“This renewable natural gas is a clean, carbon-neutral methane gas that can be used as a direct replacement for traditional natural gas to power the world, without drilling or fracking, while mitigating CO2 emissions,” the company reports.
Well, it certainly sounds good.
Is it legit?
We’ll have to wait to find out, but here’s more from the news release:
“Inspired by the photosynthetic processes that plants use to harness the power of the sun to create energy molecules, HyperSolar is developing a novel solar-powered nanoparticle system that mimics photosynthesis to separate hydrogen from water. The free hydrogen can then be reacted with carbon dioxide to produce methane, the primary component in natural gas.”
The company certainly thinks it’s on the money. “We intend to focus all our energies and resources on commercializing this breakthrough technology,” HyperSolar CEO Tim Young announced.
Good luck to the patent reviewers — the title is “Photoelectrochemically active heterostructures, methods for their manufacture, and methods and systems for producing desired products.” The patent application “discloses the company’s novel low cost manufacturing techniques, nanostructure innovations for high efficiency, and the use of freely available sunlight, waste water and carbon dioxide to produce hydrogen, methane, and other valuable chemical products,” the company reported in a second news release.
More from Young:
For almost a century, scientists have tried and failed to ‘split water’ cost effectively to produce hydrogen and oxygen. Our process does not produce oxygen (O2), which has no significant value and is an expensive and slow reaction. Unlike conventional electrolysis, where hydrogen and oxygen atoms are completely disassociated using a large voltage, we designed our reactions to use a very small voltage and only produce hydrogen (H2).
By elegantly engineering the reaction kinetics toward hydrogen generation in conjunction with wastewater, our nanoparticles function as one-way machines that detoxify wastewater, and produce clean water and pure hydrogen in the presence of sunlight…. No other energy source is required, making this an extremely economical and commercially viable approach to hydrogen production — hence, renewable natural gas production.
The whole process occurs at a normal temperature and pressure.
“To achieve world scale operation, HyperSolar envisions acres of very inexpensive reactors installed on vacant, non-productive land, producing massive amounts of carbon neutral methane that can be piped into the existing natural gas infrastructure for everyday use in homes, power plants, factories, and vehicles.”
Breakthrough? Might be. I’ll be keeping my eye on HyperSolar.
Don’t own or lease an electric car but want to? Complete our EV owner wannabe survey!
Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter.