Processing Magazine

HyperSolar confirms wastewater from pulp and paper can produce renewable natural gas

April 17, 2012

HyperSolar, Inc., Santa Barbara, Calif., the developer of a breakthrough technology to produce renewable hydrogen and natural gas using water and solar power, today announced that initial testing of wastewater samples from a paper mill proved to be highly compatible with HyperSolar’s innovative process that mimics photosynthesis to extract hydrogen from water.


“One of our key milestones was to prove that we can use elements of a conventional photovoltaic cell to produce hydrogen using free or negative economic value feedstocks,” said Tim Young, CEO of HyperSolar. “Pulp and papermaking processes consume large amounts of water, generating several hundred gallons of wastewater per ton of paper. This wastewater stream contains chlorinated compounds and volatile organics with a high pH that must be treated before being reused or discharged.”


Mr. Young continued, “Starting with a negative economic value feedstock, such as wastewater, and operating low cost reactors, we believe that our artificial photosynthesis process of extracting hydrogen from water will be cost effective.”


Unlike conventional, expensive hydrogen technology that splits water molecules (H2O) into hydrogen (H2) and oxygen (O2), HyperSolar is developing a low cost nanotechnology approach. By simply engineering the reaction kinetics toward H2 generation with the help of wastewater, the HyperSolar nanoparticles function as one-way machines that detoxify wastewater, and produce clean water and pure hydrogen in the presence of sunlight. No other energy source is required, resulting in an extremely economical and commercially viable approach for the production of zero-carbon, renewable hydrogen.


HyperSolar recently entered into a yearlong sponsored research agreement with the University of California, Santa Barbara to help accelerate the development process of its breakthrough technology and assure that key milestones are reached in a timely manner.