The Power of Hydrogen: From First Element to Green Energy Catalyst

Joseph Priestley Society
Thursday, February 11, 2021
1:00 p.m.–2:00 p.m. EST (UTC -5)

In response to the urgency of dealing with climate change, a number of countries have plans to switch to carbon-free energy technologies. In addition to adopting solar power and wind energy, the use of favorable hydrogen technologies is getting significant attention and has been implemented in some parts of the world.

The term “hydrogen economy” refers to the vision of using hydrogen as a clean, low-carbon energy resource to meet the world’s energy needs, replacing traditional fossil fuels in various applications, and forming a substantial part of a clean energy portfolio.

Two key developments have contributed to the growth of hydrogen energy technologies in recent years: the cost of producing hydrogen using renewable energy sources has come down and continues to fall, while the urgency of greenhouse gas emission mitigation has increased.

In this presentation of the comprehensive scope of hydrogen in the energy economy, Kapur discussed the methods of production of hydrogen, its role as an energy carrier, and its use in fuel cells for electricity generation, particularly for transportation. He will also discuss the energy content of hydrogen compared to natural gas, its cost comparison with fossil fuels, the role of hydrogen for energy storage, as well as safety issues concerning the use of hydrogen in various applications.

This event was coproduced by the American Chemical Society as part of its ACS Webinars series.

About the Speaker

Vijay Kapur 2020

Vijay Kapur headshot

Vijay Kapur

Vijay K. Kapur is the retired CEO of International Solar Electric Technology (ISET), which operated in Los Angeles for 27 years, developing and patenting low-cost photovoltaic technologies as alternatives to silicon solar cells. Kapur and his ISET team developed a cost-effective technology for manufacturing thin-film copper-indium-gallium-selenide solar cells using printing or spraying techniques. Although ISET closed after Kapur retired, its concepts and accomplishments have influenced other solar companies worldwide.

Before cofounding ISET, Kapur was the director of applied research at ARCO Solar in Los Angeles. There he was involved in starting a silicon solar cell–manufacturing facility and directing R&D on thin-film PV technologies, testing on batteries suitable for PV systems, and development of nickel-hydrogen batteries for terrestrial applications. Earlier, Kapur worked at SRI International, where he developed a process to manufacture low-cost, high-purity silicon for solar cells using a by-product of the phosphate fertilizer industry.

Kapur has been honored with 5 innovation awards from NASA and 1 special innovation award from ARCO Solar, and he holds 10 issued patents. He has published more than 50 scientific papers and reports, coedited 4 symposia proceedings on photovoltaic technology for the Electrochemical Society (ECS), served a term as chair of the Energy Technology Group of the ECS, and served on the editorial board of the Journal of the Electrochemical Society.

During his professional career Kapur was a member of the American Chemical Society for over 30 years. He received a PhD in physical inorganic chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania and an executive MBA from the University of California, Los Angeles.

About the Series

The Joseph Priestley Society (JPS) promotes a deeper understanding of science, technology, and industry, with an emphasis on innovation and entrepreneurship. Speakers are leaders from a wide variety of large and small chemical companies and the financial, consulting, and academic communities.

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