Solar-Thermal Decoupled Production of Hydrogen

Faculty Sponsor

Paul Smith


Arts and Sciences



ORCID Identifier(s)


Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Symposium Date

Spring 4-28-2022


Widespread adoption of renewable solar energy is currently limited by a lack of long term storage commodities. As a preferred option, solar fuels satisfy flexible requirements including transportability, high energy density, and in the case of hydrogen, clean combustion. Here we will outline a method of producing hydrogen using an iron oxide-based system, which was selected due to its non-toxicity and relative abundance. Though, this system has to overcome four challenges: first, the iron oxide hematite must decompose in a solar furnace, producing oxygen and magnetite; second, the magnetite must be dissolved into a solution; third, hydrogen gas must be produced at lower energies than conventional water splitting; fourth, the used iron oxide must be recovered to perpetuate the cycle. Until recently this system was unable to overcome the fourth challenge of isolating the iron oxide. Etidronic acid has shown promise in completing the system in a manner that fulfills all four requirements.

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