Researchers found a way to store Solar Energy as Hydrogen inexpensively

Researchers at EPFL have come up with an inexpensive way to store solar energy as hydrogen. By doing this Solar Energy can be stored during the day and used at a later moment in time, for example at night. That way you would not lose any energy you harnessed during peak solar hours.

It is not the first time researchers have managed to convert solar energy into hydrogen. The most successful iteration of a device like this was able to attain an efficiency of 12.4 percent, but the materials used were expensive and would cost about $10,000 to cover a 10 square centimeter surface.

The EPFL researchers, led by Kevin Sivula, wanted to make something that could actually be produced and so they limited themselves to inexpensive materials and to production techniques that could easily be scaled up.

So far the efficiency is low — between 1.4 and 3.6 percent — but because of the low cost it’s possible to keep experimenting with it and tweaking it until improvements are made. The team believes that they will be able to reach an efficiency of 10 percent in just a few years and that the device should cost only $80 per square meter. Ultimately, the researchers think the tandem cell technology could hit an efficiency of 16 percent with the iron oxide, while still keeping its cost low.