Friday, August 1, 2008

MIT solar discovery - is it a big deal?

There is much hype at the moment about MIT's discover of an efficient way to convert sunlight into hydrogen which can be stored and converted to electricity via a fuel cell when required. This will pave the way for effective use of solar panels because we would not be dependant on the sun shining to generate electricity.

The big deal is if this is much more efficient than using a PV panel to generate electricity and storing the electricity in a battery, but I have not found the data that compares the two options. Intuitively I would expect the PV generation to be less efficient that solar to hydrogen, but the battery to be more efficient that the hydrogen to electricity conversion, but I'd like to see the data. Otherwise why the hype about being able to store electricity?


Wag the Dog said...

The Oil Drum has a closer look at this yesterday. They are not impressed, but that is to be expected - they're peak oil people.

Phoebe Bright said...

Thanks for that link. Seems to be pretty conclusive that this is nothing to get too excited about.