Solar Hydrogen Production Techniques ( Me5220 Fall 2014 Term Paper )
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SOLAR HYDROGEN PRODUCTION TECHNIQUES
(ME5220 Fall 2014 Term Paper)
December 12, 2014
Solar Hydrogen economy is analyzed as a possible solution to the looming energy crisis. The present and future energy needs are projected and solar hydrogen potential to meet these needs are evaluated. Different solar hydrogen production techniques are classified according to the process involved (thermochemical, electrochemical and photochemical). Salient points on these methods are mentioned. An economic assessment of a conceivable solar hydrogen economy is also performed. PV water electrolysis along with hybrid technologies like solar methane reforming and solar cracking are suggested as a good short to midterm solution.…show more content… A lot of literature is available on different solar hydrogen production techniques.[3,4,6,7,8,9,10] Categorization of these techniques is ambiguous and all the methods have not been discussed in any single literature. An effort has been made to include all the solar hydrogen production techniques and classify them according to the process used: thermochemical, electrochemical and photochemical. An economic analysis of a possible solar hydrogen economy is also examined. Finally, some of the conclusions are listed and avenues for further research are also suggested.
2. Hydrogen Producing Potential of Solar Energy
Solar energy can be used to produce hydrogen in two ways. They can either be used personally or for mass production.
According to an analysis performed by Singliar on Honda FCX assuming an average distance of 12,000 km/year, annual hydrogen consumption will be 140 kg. Honda has developed a “Solar Hydrogen Station” which produces 0.5 kg of hydrogen per day. This amounts to 180.5 kg of hydrogen per year, easily satisfying the need of a personal fuel cell vehicle.
Figure 1: Solar Hydrogen Station 
The United States consumes an average 128 billion gallons of gasoline per year.  According to a study by Levene et al. , 1110 billion kg of hydrogen can be produced using solar and wind energy. Assuming 1 kg of hydrogen is equal to 1 gallon of gasoline in energy content, hydrogen potential is 8.7 times the