Assume that due to dwindling supplies of crude oil and
natural gas, the US embarks on a plan to implement the
"hydrogen economy" for which hydrogen will be generated
by electrolysis of water. The source of electricity is from
photovoltaic (PV) conversion of sunlight in the southwestern
US. (a) Assume that a flat plate PV system is used, with a solar
conversion efficiency of 25 percent and a hydrogen
production efficiency of 60 percent. Assume the average annual
insolation in the southwest is 270 watts per square meter.
Calculate the annual electrical energy produced in kJ/sq. meter. Calculate
the weight of hydrogen (kg/sq. meter) produced per year.
(b) The US consumed 48 EJ of petroleum in 2000. How many
square meters of PV collectors would be needed to supply the equivalent
amount of energy in hydrogen?
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