Pathways to electrochemical solar-hydrogen technologies

Shane Ardo*, David Fernandez Rivas, Miguel A. Modestino, Verena Schulze Greiving, Fatwa F. Abdi, Esther Alarcon Llado, Vincent Artero, Katherine Ayers, Corsin Battaglia, Jan Philipp Becker, Dmytro Bederak, Alan Berger, Francesco Buda, Enrico Chinello, Bernard Dam, Valerio Di Palma, Tomas Edvinsson, Katsushi Fujii, Han Gardeniers, Hans GeerlingsS. Mohammad Hashemi, Sophia Haussener, Frances Houle, Jurriaan Huskens, Brian D. James, Kornelia Konrad, Akihiko Kudo, Pramod Patil Kunturu, Detlef Lohse, Bastian Timo Mei, Eric L. Miller, Gary F. Moore, Jiri Muller, Katherine L. Orchard, Timothy E. Rosser, Fadl H. Saadi, Jan Willem Schüttauf, Brian Seger, Stafford W. Sheehan, Wilson A. Smith, Joshua Spurgeon, Maureen H. Tang, Roel Van De Krol, Peter Christian Kjærgaard Vesborg, Pieter Westerik

*Corresponding author for this work

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Solar-powered electrochemical production of hydrogen through water electrolysis is an active and important research endeavor. However, technologies and roadmaps for implementation of this process do not exist. In this perspective paper, we describe potential pathways for solar-hydrogen technologies into the marketplace in the form of photoelectrochemical or photovoltaic-driven electrolysis devices and systems. We detail technical approaches for device and system architectures, economic drivers, societal perceptions, political impacts, technological challenges, and research opportunities. Implementation scenarios are broken down into short-term and long-term markets, and a specific technology roadmap is defined. In the short term, the only plausible economical option will be photovoltaic-driven electrolysis systems for niche applications. In the long term, electrochemical solar-hydrogen technologies could be deployed more broadly in energy markets but will require advances in the technology, significant cost reductions, and/or policy changes. Ultimately, a transition to a society that significantly relies on solar-hydrogen technologies will benefit from continued creativity and influence from the scientific community.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEnergy & Environmental Science
Issue number10
Pages (from-to)2768-2783
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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