Up until recently, hydrogen fuel cell technology has faced limitations due to the low availability and high hydrogen production cost. A further setback is also the limited infrastructure for hydrogen distribution.
But all that might be on its way to change thanks to the efforts of scientists and environmental engineers who have come up with a ground-breaking potential solution for these problems: artificial photosynthesis for hydrogen production.
Research in this direction has received $100 million in funding from the US Department of Energy (DOE), which has resulted in the development of a hydrogen and electricity extraction system powered by solar cells.
Artifical Photosynthesis Explained – A Hydrogen Fuel Cell Technology Booster
The technology relies on artificial leaves that use solar power to fuel the split of hydrogen and oxygen. What’s more, excess solar energy is not lost in this process and can, instead, be stored and saved for later use.
Synthetic photosynthesis can, thus, provide a cleaner and more sustainable alternative to hydrogen production, as traditional means of hydrogen extraction rely on energy sources that release CO2 emissions into the atmosphere. Using solar energy as in the case of artificial photosynthesis technology leaves no room for air pollution, which has previously been one of the major disadvantages of the hydrogen fuel cell technology.
In addition to being more environmentally friendly, the use of this technology can also prove to be more commercially applicable thanks to the lower utility costs that companies can benefit from by using renewable energy. Furthermore, excess energy can also be sold to government institutions and other entities as a means of additional income.
And with the growing demand for green energy, the market’s production and distribution practices are already being reshaped.
In fact, according to data from The State of Consumer Spending, 62% of Gen Z consumers prefer sustainable brands and demand sustainably sourced goods. Over two-thirds of Gen Z shoppers also said they are willing to pay more for sustainable products.