In this post I have collected news and tidbits, some with commentary, on projects from around the world (or in space if space-based solar ever becomes a thing) working towards a transition from our carbon-based energy system to a photon-based.

This includes projects on renewable chemical feedstocks (hydrogen, ammonia, etc.) as well as their generation by renewable methods and the infrastructure developments underpinning such projects. The notes below are not presented in any particular order.

The energy transition is progressing very rapidly and I fully expect to fail to keep track of even a subset of new developments. But I plan to keep updating this post with new items of interest as I learn about them.

Even though each tidbit can certainly feel small and inconsequential in the moment, every small step towards weening ourselves off the carbon-based economy counts. And judging by most outlooks, the pace of the energy transition will only accelerate even more during the remainder of this decade.

Electrolysis plants and factories

Fuel cell vehicles and factories

Other hydrogen infrastructure

Projects combining multiple renewable technologies

Power-to-X

Power-to-X is an umbrella term for a number of different technologies spanning energy conversion, energy storage, etc.

Power-to-gas: renewable electricity powers an electrolyser which splits liquid water into hydrogen gas and oxygen gas, where the \(\ce{H2(g)}\) can be stored for later use. So creating \(\ce{H2(g)}\) costs us energy, which if sunlight is effectively unlimited, and the feedstock (water) is plentiful.

Power-to-fuel: \(\ce{H2(g) + CO2(g)}\) or \(\ce{H2(g) + N2(g)}\) with the addition of electric potential (power) and in the presence of suitable electrocatalysts (research is on-going) lets us produce carbohydrates (methanol in the first step) or ammonia. Such liquid fuels produced from renewable feedstocks with renewable power are usually called “solar fuels” or “synthetic fuels”.