A device developed by mechanical engineer Erik Koepf would concentrate the Sun's energy to directly extract hydrogen from water in a two-stage process that begins with stripping zinc from zinc oxide. "Theoretically, we could capture about 40% of the energy, but in lab experiments to demonstrate the design, we get less than 3%. Our reactor is mostly a proof-of-concept, but I think it could be scaled up in my kids’ lifetime," Koepf writes.

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