Are we closer to having renewable natural gas using solar power, water and CO2? That’s what HyperSolar, a technology company based in Santa Barbara, CA, is hoping to achieve. The company has filed a patent application for clean, renewable gas which it hopes replaces traditional natural gas without having to resort to aggressive and dangerous methods such as drilling and fracking.
“The sun is our greatest source of energy and a method to use this energy to make clean, renewable fuel is a very significant discovery,” said Tim Young, CEO of HyperSolar. “We intend to focus all our energies and resources on commercializing this breakthrough technology.”
HyperSolar says its technology is inspired by photosynthesis. It is developing a novel solar-powered nanoparticle system that mimics photosynthesis to separate hydrogen from water. The free hydrogen can then be reacted with carbon dioxide to produce methane, the primary component in natural gas.
There is a frantic search for natural gas at the moment, which has become a cause of concern amongst environmentalists. The film Gasland, which shows the hazards associated with fracking, was even nominated for the Best Documentary category at the Oscars earlier this year. HyperSolar’s idea is to provide a clean alternative, with an eye on the billions of dollars invested in natural gas infrastructure.
“We believe natural gas as a primary fuel is a reality. However, the environmental risks associated with the extraction and usage of conventional natural gas is also a reality”, Mr. Young added.
The promise is to eliminate the harmful aspects of extracting natural gas and preserve its existing delivery infrastructure and economy by fundamentally changing the source of natural gas from underground to above ground.
Article by Antonio Pasolini, a Brazilian writer and video art curator based in London, UK. He holds a BA in journalism and an MA in film and television.