“Hydrogen House” Deploys Rooftop Solar Panels, But Don’t Call Them Solar Panels
Author: Tina Casey
In 2020, the California utility SoCal Gas upped the ante when it announced plans to demonstrate the hydrogen house concept on a factory-built 2,000 sq. ft. LEED platinum home equipped with solar panels, a battery, an electrolyzer for green H2, and a fuel cell. The researchers in Belgium also developed a system that deploys solar energy, and their panels resemble solar panels, but they are different. The R&D began as a student project at Belgium’s historic KU Leuven university and is progressing under the umbrella of the Solhyd spinoff, spearheaded by professor Johan Mans of KU Leuven. He talked about the difference during an interview in 2019.“A solar panel converts solar energy into electricity, while our panel converts moisture from the air into hydrogen gas,” Mans explained. “Sunlight is part of the picture, of course, and our panel does look like a solar panel, but we prefer to call it a hydrogen panel.” “One can use solar photovoltaics, but hydrogen panels are equally suited. Using just one percent of the Belgian agricultural land for agrivoltaics, would suffice to replace 9% of industrial gas use by green hydrogen,” they note.