U.S. solar tech company, HyperSolar Inc., states it has developed a process for creating natural gas from wastewater using solar power and has filed for a patent of the technology.
The company says they have designed a cheap and efficient nanoparticle system that can mimic a plant’s ability to photosynthesise light and separate hydrogen for water; essentially splitting the molecule - a process that usually requires considerable amounts of energy. The extracted hydrogen is then mixed with carbon dioxide in a chemical process known as the Sabatier reaction to produce a renewable source of methane gas that Hyper Solar envisions could be used as a replacement for traditional natural gas. The company hopes to put the technology to work purifying industrial wastewater from factories municipal zones, while simultaneously creating renewable energy.
Each HyperSolar nanoparticle contains a tiny solar absorber in a protective shell. This provides energy for a photochemical reaction between a cathode and an anode specifically programmed to detoxify various wastewater streams, removing hydrogen and leaving behind clean water and usable chemical by-products. The company’s vision is a global-scale supply of solar-engineered natural gas, with huge treatment plants containing hundreds of millions of solar nanoparticles pumping carbon-neutral methane to collection points for distribution to cities and homes.
HyperSolar CEO Tim Young says his company’s nanotechnology breakthrough will replace current destructive natural gas mining techniques, such as fracking. "With global consumption projected to surpass coal in 2035, natural gas will be the next great fuel. From sunrise to sunset, our proprietary nanoparticles will work in a water based solution to produce clean and environmentally friendly renewable natural gas that can be collected for later use in power plants, industrial plants and vehicles – anywhere and anytime." Fracking is a hot topic currently in Australia as Coal Seam Gas (CSG) industry comes increasingly under the spotlight; accused of not being as environmentally or emissions-friendly as its supporters would have us believe.