top of page

Researchers Unveil Economical Method for Producing Green Syngas

9 Sept 2023

A breakthrough research endeavor at the University of Colorado has introduced an efficient and cost-effective approach to producing green hydrogen and green syngas—a precursor to liquid fuels. This pioneering development holds the potential to revolutionize sustainable energy applications across various industries, including transportation, steelmaking, and ammonia production.

The study, published in the journal Joule on August 16, spotlights the production of hydrogen and syngas—a hydrogen and carbon monoxide mixture used in the production of fuels like gasoline, diesel, and kerosene. The innovative method, entirely powered by solar energy, lays the foundation for what could become the first commercially viable approach to fuel production in a sustainable manner.

A Solar-Powered Future Fuel The research, led by Professor Al Weimer in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at CU Boulder, envisions a future where fuel options at the pump include solar fuel derived from sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide. This solar fuel, once fully developed, aims to compete on cost with conventional fossil fuels.

Revolutionizing Fuel Production Traditionally, hydrogen gas is produced through electrolysis—a process that uses electricity to split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen gas. The research team's approach, referred to as "thermochemical," utilizes solar-generated heat to facilitate the same chemical reactions. Additionally, this method has the capability to split carbon dioxide molecules from the atmosphere, producing carbon monoxide.

While previous attempts at thermochemical hydrogen and carbon monoxide production showed promise, they lacked the efficiency required for commercial viability. However, in this recent study, the researchers demonstrated their ability to conduct these reactions at elevated pressures. This was made possible, in part, by utilizing iron-aluminate materials, which are both cost-effective and readily available on Earth. This breakthrough allowed the team to more than double its hydrogen production, making significant strides toward scalable green fuel production.

A Sustainable Fuel Revolution The research at the University of Colorado offers a promising glimpse into a future where sustainable solar-derived fuels become a viable and competitive alternative to traditional fossil fuels. With the potential to impact transportation, manufacturing, and energy production, this innovation signifies a critical step forward in the global pursuit of cleaner and greener energy solutions.

The development of an economical method for producing green syngas using solar energy has the potential to transform the way we power our vehicles and industries, ushering in a more sustainable era of fuel production.

bottom of page