Solar Hydrogen Generation

Background The establishment of the hydrogen economy will require a non-fossil fuel source of hydrogen. One of the most promising alternatives is to use solar energy to generate hydrogen. Currently, this can be done with conventional solar cells coupled to water electrolysis cells, but the approach is expensive in terms of capital equipment.

Invention Description The solution is a simplified, less expensive, and mass producible mechanism for producing hydrogen from the sun's energy. Utilizing a self-contained cell, the invention incorporates bipolar photoelectrodes with dye-sensitized solar cells in a configuration that enables the unassisted separation of water into hydrogen and oxygen in the presence of solar irradiation.


Less expensive method of producing hydrogen from water Environmentally friendly


Conducive to mass production methods Produces hydrogen in a single cell, rather than a dual cell (solar cell/electrolysis cell) arrangement

Market Potential/Applications This technology could provide the raw materials for a new breed of hydrogen-powered automobiles. In the nearer future, it could provide an environmentally friendly source of hydrogen for fuel cells, food processing, chemical processing, metal production and fabrication, sorbitol production, rocket fuels, semiconductor manufacturing, petroleum refining, and other power generation applications.

IP Status One U.S. patent application filed

UT Researcher Allen J. Bard, Ph.D., Chemistry and Biochemistry, The University of Texas at Austin Jong-Hyeok Park, Ph.D., Chemistry and Biochemistry, The University of Texas at Austin

Type of Offer: Licensing

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