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Observing the renewable energy transition from a European perspective

Producing Green Hydrogen Using Thermolysis

Renewable energy generation has arrived at a stage where the issue of storage no longer can be ignored. A major storage candidate is hydrogen or one of its many derivatives. Key technology for producing green hydrogen is electrolysis. However, there is another technology waiting in the wings to be explored: thermolysis.

Thermochemical water splitting uses high temperatures—from concentrated solar power or from the waste heat of nuclear power reactions—and chemical reactions to produce hydrogen and oxygen from water. This is a long-term technology pathway, with potentially low or no greenhouse gas emissions… Thermochemical water splitting processes use high-temperature heat (500°–2,000°C) to drive a series of chemical reactions that produce hydrogen. The chemicals used in the process are reused within each cycle, creating a closed loop that consumes only water and produces hydrogen and oxygen.

[energy.gov] – Hydrogen Production: Thermochemical Water Splitting
[wikipedia.org] – Thermal decomposition
[wikipedia.org] – Water splitting

A “Solar Water Cracker” with a concentrator of about 100 m² can produce almost one kilogram of hydrogen per sunshine hour.

EU-funded project in Spain, Hydrosol-2, is a 100 kW project in Spain, where solar thermal heat is transformed into hydrogen production through splitting of water.

[wikipedia.org] – HYDROSOL

The German Aerospace Center DLR has built the largest “artificial sun” on earth in order to optimize hydrogen production. The DLR is able to reach temperatures of up to 3000 C.

[dlr.de] – Synlight

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