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New MIT design would harness 40% of the sun’s heat to produce clean hydrogen fuel

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on SciTech Daily or enjoy below:

🗞️ Driving the news: MIT engineers have unveiled a groundbreaking design to produce carbon-free hydrogen fuel using a series of sun-driven reactors, potentially increasing efficiency from 7% to 40%
• This innovative train-like reactor design could make green hydrogen production scalable and economically feasible, marking a significant step toward clean energy

🔭 The context: Currently, hydrogen is predominantly produced through processes involving natural gas and other fossil fuels, categorizing it as a “grey” energy source
• The new design focuses on “solar thermochemical hydrogen” (STCH), a completely emissions-free alternative relying solely on renewable solar energy for hydrogen production
• However, existing STCH designs have been limited in efficiency, utilizing only about 7% of incoming sunlight

🌍 Why it matters for the planet: The MIT team’s design could harness up to 40% of the sun’s heat for hydrogen production, substantially reducing the system’s overall cost and making STCH a scalable, affordable option
• This advancement is crucial for decarbonizing the transportation industry, as hydrogen fuel can power long-distance trucks, ships, and planes without emitting greenhouse gases

⏭️ What's next: The team plans to build a prototype of the system for testing at the Department of Energy’s concentrated solar power facilities within the next year
• The goal is to achieve the Department of Energy’s target of producing green hydrogen at $1 per kilogram by 2030

💬 One quote: “We’re thinking of hydrogen as the fuel of the future, and there’s a need to generate it cheaply and at scale,” (Ahmed Ghoniem, lead author and Professor at MIT)

📈 One stat: The innovative design from MIT engineers has the potential to produce hydrogen at a cost of $2.40 per kilogram, a significant reduction compared to current production methods

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