Californian company NewHydrogen has issued a press release claiming it is, in working with researchers at the University of California Santa Barbara, developing “a better way to efficiently split water into cheap green hydrogen” by using heat rather than electricity.
CEO Steve Hill said of the advancement that “electricity currently accounts for 73% of the cost of green hydrogen production. On the other hand, renewable heat from sources such as concentrated solar and geothermal can be very low cost. Often it’s even free in the form of waste heat from sources such as nuclear power plants, and industrial processes for making steel, glass, ceramics, and many things we use in our everyday lives.” The technology is based on using a novel molten catalytic liquid that “can be reduced in one chamber, oxidized in another chamber, and is continuously recycled and reused”, with heat and water being the only other inputs.
Low-cost materials are to be used, and the envisaged temperatures are below 1000°C, to “potentially” produce the world’s cheapest green hydrogen. The technology certainly sounds promising, especially in using a waste product, although one imagines that a limitation of the application of the technology would be that the scale of a particular deployment of it would be determined by the amount of waste heat available, and hence economies of scale may sometimes be difficult to achieve.
NewHydrogen is also working on cheaper catalysts for conventional electrolysers.