International Journal of Energy Research, Vol.44, No.6, 4110-4131, 2020
Hydrogen from solar energy, a clean energy carrier from a sustainable source of energy
Solar energy is going to play a crucial role in the future energy scenario of the world that conducts interests to solar-to-hydrogen as a means of achieving a clean energy carrier. Hydrogen is a sustainable energy carrier, capable of substituting fossil fuels and decreasing carbon dioxide (CO2) emission to save the world from global warming. Hydrogen production from ubiquitous sustainable solar energy and an abundantly available water is an environmentally friendly solution for globally increasing energy demands and ensures long-term energy security. Among various solar hydrogen production routes, this study concentrates on solar thermolysis, solar thermal hydrogen via electrolysis, thermochemical water splitting, fossil fuels decarbonization, and photovoltaic-based hydrogen production with special focus on the concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) system. Energy management and thermodynamic analysis of CPV-based hydrogen production as the near-term sustainable option are developed. The capability of three electrolysis systems including alkaline water electrolysis (AWE), polymer electrolyte membrane electrolysis, and solid oxide electrolysis for coupling to solar systems for H-2 production is discussed. Since the cost of solar hydrogen has a very large range because of the various employed technologies, the challenges, pros and cons of the different methods, and the commercialization processes are also noticed. Among three electrolysis technologies considered for postulated solar hydrogen economy, AWE is found the most mature to integrate with the CPV system. Although substantial progresses have been made in solar hydrogen production technologies, the review indicates that these systems require further maturation to emulate the produced grid-based hydrogen.