Produce Hydrogen Fuel from Water Using Solar Energy

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An illustration of the energy requirements for a three-step thermochemical water splitting cycle
Cunping Huang Ph.D.
Nazim Muradov Ph.D.
Ali Raissi Ph.D.
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John Miner
Assistant Director 407.882.1136
Patent Protection

Solar metal sulfate-ammonia based thermochemical water splitting cycle for hydrogen production

US Patent 8,691,068 B1

UCF researchers have discovered a method for producing hydrogen based on water splitting cycles and use of solar energy

Solar energy is used to drive reactions catalyzed with metal sulfates for generating hydrogen by splitting water. Technologies that exist today for the photocatalytic splitting of water only use the photonic energy of the solar spectrum, but not the thermal energy portion. Utilization of the full solar spectrum allows the cycle to reach higher overall efficiencies than purely thermochemical water splitting cycles of the past.

Technical Details

Hydrogen is a front runner in the race for a clean renewable energy source. It is currently the fuel of choice for the space program and is also used in fuels cells for automobiles and machinery. Production of hydrogen can be considered eco-friendly only if it is produced from a non-carbon-based feedstock using renewable energy sources. The ideal method for hydrogen production would involve splitting of water using solar energy. Water splitting can be accomplished either directly in a single step or indirectly in multiple steps. Direct single step hydrogen production requires temperatures in excess of 2500˚C. It is also reversible, with hydrogen and oxygen combining to form water spontaneously. Thermochemical water splitting utilizes two or more chemical reactions that together form a closed loop with the overall reaction being the splitting of water and the co-production of hydrogen and oxygen, separately. The idea behind thermochemical water splitting is partitioning the total energy required into several smaller more manageable chemical reaction steps.


  • Environmentally friendly method of producing clean renewable fuels and chemicals
  • Increased solar energy conversion efficiency for generating hydrogen and oxygen from water
  • Makes full use of solar spectrum


  • Hydrogen Fuels
  • Solar and Thermal