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Hydrogen as the solar energy translatorMany concepts are being investigated to convert sunlight to workable energy forms with emphasis on electricity and thermal energy. The electrical alternatives include direct conversion of photons to electricity via photovoltaic solar cells and solar/thermal production of electricity via heat-energy cycles. Solar cells, when commercialized, are expected to have efficiencies of about 12 to 14 percent. The cells would be active about eight hours per day. However, solar-operated water-splitting process research, initiated through JPL, shows promise for direct production of hydrogen from sunlight with efficiencies of up to 35 to 40 percent. The hydrogen, a valuable commodity in itself, can also serve as a storable energy form, easily and efficiently converted to electricity by fuel cells and other advanced-technology devices on a 24-hour basis or on demand with an overall efficiency of 25 to 30 percent. Thus, hydrogen serves as the fundamental translator of energy from its solar form to electrical form more effectively, and possibly more efficiently, than direct conversion. Hydrogen also can produce other chemical energy forms using solar energy.
Document ID
19790067839
Document Type
Conference Proceedings
Authors
Kelley, J. H. (California Institute of Technology, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena Calif., United States)
Date Acquired
August 9, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1979
Subject Category
ENERGY PRODUCTION AND CONVERSION
Meeting Information
Intersociety Energy Conversion Engineering Conference(Boston, MA)
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Other