Dr Siva Karuturi
Original Published Date: 
Monday, September 6, 2021

Full article issued by The Australian National University (ANU).

ARC-supported researchers at The Australian National University have achieved a new efficiency record for hydrogen cells that can convert water into hydrogen simply using sunlight.

Lead researcher and ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Awardee (DECRA) Dr Siva Karuturi says hydrogen has an important role to play in solving the intermittency of renewable energy sources.

'There are significant cost benefits to this solar-to-hydrogen approach as it eliminates the need for added infrastructure that's necessary when hydrogen is produced using an electrolyser.'

The team has recently reported to RenewEconomy that they have achieved a direct solar water splitting system with over 20% [solar-to-hydrogen] efficiency. This meets a conversion efficiency target set by the United State’s Department of Energy as part of efforts to reduce the production cost of renewable hydrogen.

The researchers also predict that further research could ultimately beat the Australian Government’s target of producing hydrogen at a cost below $2 per kilogram.

To produce hydrogen in the past, solar plants had to produce electricity which is then used to electrolyse water to produce hydrogen. This new method is more direct, making it more efficient, says Dr Karuturi.

The research demonstrates how combining innovations in solar and hydrogen production technologies could be a decisive innovation in producing low cost renewable hydrogen and decarbonising the economy.

Photo credit: 

Dr Siva Karuturi in the lab. Credit: Dr Karuturi.