Bachelor/Master Assignments

Techno-economic analysis of alternative processes for solar hydrogen generation

Bachelor/Master Assignment

Techno-economic analysis of alternative processes for solar hydrogen generation!

The replacement of fossil fuels is one of the critical challenges we are facing in this century. The sun provides a vast reservoir of energy (see Fig. 1) in the form of photons on a daily basis. Harvesting this energy is tempting (required) to produce clean and sustainable (solar) fuels.

Figure 1. Global exergy flux, reservoirs, and destruction (W. Hermann and A.J. Simon (http://gcep.Stanford.edu).

In this regard photocatalytic or (photo)electrochemical water splitting over semiconductor materials are promising methods to produce solar hydrogen. Despite decades of research the implementation of solar hydrogen is hampered due to the poor economics of the water splitting process.[1] In order to significantly reduce capital costs and boost to boost the industrial applicability of photo-electrochemical and photocatalytic systems it might be desirable to consider alternative processes in which hydrogen and another valuable compound are produced. Recently, it was suggested that a process in which H2O2 concomitant with hydrogen production should be considered.[2] It is accepted that the co-production of valuable chemicals will drastically decrease the price of solar hydrogen. Nevertheless, a techno-economic feasibility study of such a process needs to be performed to underline the significant of such a process. Therefore, in this assignment a techno-economic assessment of the viability of such a process in collaboration with the Prof. dr. Gert Jan Kramer, Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, Utrecht University ( https://www.uu.nl/staff/GJKramer/0 ) will be performed.

[1] B. Pinaud, et al. Energy Environ. Sci., 2013,6, 1983-2002, DOI: 10.1039/C3EE40831K.

[2] B. Mei, G. Mul, B. Seger Adv. Sustainable Syst., DOI: 10.1002/adsu.201600035.