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The Potential for Electrons to Molecules Using Solar Energy

Mark P. Rossow, Ph.D, PE Retired

This online engineering PDH course describes the potential for solar photovoltaics (PV) to supply low carbon energy sources to sectors of the economy other than the power industry. Molecules such as hydrogen, ammonia, and hydrocarbons are currently produced from natural gas and crude oil and are used in sectors other than the power sector. Processes to produce them emit carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases both directly and in upstream feedstock recovery processes. Electrons-to-molecules (E2M) technologies are being developed to convert carbon dioxide, water, and atmospheric nitrogen to desired chemical products using electricity, and they represent large electricity loads. E2M technologies are thus emerging as a potential application for PV; essentially, they can act as electrochemical energy storage and thereby provide a means to use the energy generated from PV and store it in molecular form. In this course, the focus is on potential interfaces between PV and the organic chemicals sector. Specifically, analyses are presented for sustainable production pathways for hydrogen, ammonia, carbon monoxide, ethylene, ethanol, methanol, formic acid, and methane.

This course includes a multiple-choice quiz at the end, which is designed to enhance the understanding of the course materials.

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NY PE & PLS: You must choose courses that are technical in nature or related to matters of laws and ethics contributing to the health and welfare of the public. NY Board does not accept courses related to office management, risk management, leadership, marketing, accounting, financial planning, real estate, and basic CAD. Specific course topics that are on the borderline and are not acceptable by the NY Board have been noted under the course description on our website.