Researchers at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium say that they have developed a solar panel that converts sunlight directly into hydrogen using the moisture in the air.

Hydrogen can easily be stored and transported and converted into either electricity or heat. Hydrogen doesn’t release any greenhouse gases or toxic substances. 

The panel takes the water vapor and splits it into hydrogen and oxygen molecules. It can produce 250 litres of hydrogen a day. Twenty panels could produce enough hydrogen to heat house in Belgium throughout winter.

The device, which looks like an ordinary solar panel measuring 1.65 meters long, has a rated power output of about 210 watts. The system can convert 15% of the solar energy it receives into hydrogen.

The researchers plan to field test their prototype on a house. The hydrogen would be stored in a small, underground pressure vessel during the summer months, then pumped throughout the house during the winter.