Skip to content

Solar Thermochemical Hydrogen Production in the USA


Hydrogen produced from renewable energy has the potential to decarbonize parts of the transport sector and many other industries. For a sustainable replacement of fossil energy carriers, both the environmental and economic performance of its production are important. Here, the solar thermochemical hydrogen pathway is characterized with a techno-economic and life-cycle analysis. Assuming a further increase of conversion efficiency and a reduction of investment costs, it is found that hydrogen can be produced in the United States of America at costs of 2.1–3.2 EUR/kg (2.4–3.6 USD/kg) at specific greenhouse gas emissions of 1.4 kg CO2-eq/kg. A geographical potential analysis shows that a maximum of 8.4 × 1011 kg per year can be produced, which corresponds to about twelve times the current global and about 80 times the current US hydrogen production. The best locations are found in the Southwest of the US, which have a high solar irradiation and short distances to the sea, which is beneficial for access to desalinated water. Unlike for petrochemical products, the transport of hydrogen could potentially present an obstacle in terms of cost and emissions under unfavorable circumstances. Given a large-scale deployment, low-cost transport seems, however, feasible.

Related subjects: Production & Supply Chain
Countries: Germany

Article metrics loading...

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error