Publication Detail

Hydrogen from Solar Energy: An Overview of Theory and Current Technological Status


Presentation Series

Suggested Citation:
Erickson, Paul A. and Dharendra Y. Goswami (2001) Hydrogen from Solar Energy: An Overview of Theory and Current Technological Status. Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California, Davis, Presentation Series UCD-ITS-RP-01-31

Proceedings of IECEC '01: 36th Intersociety Energy Conversion Engineering Conference, Savannah, GA, July 29 - August 2, 2001

Hydrogen production from solar energy sources and water becomes a critical technology in shifting to a renewable energy economy. While the shift to such an economy is still a few years away, it is important to review the current methods and state of the art of hydrogen production by solar means. This paper reviews the theory and practice of current hydrogen production methods by use of solar energy and water. Such a review gives an overall perspective of recent developments in the technology. Key areas are thus identified for further development and research. This review also allows those unfamiliar with solar hydrogen production to become acquainted with the principles, literature and current technological status of the water splitting process.

The following methods of water splitting are reviewed and discussed: electrolysis by solar derived power, photoelectrochemical and photochemical hydrogen production, direct thermal decomposition of water, thermochemical cycles for hydrogen production, and biological hydrogen production. The accomplishments in each research area are discussed.