CHEM 401 (Fall 2009)


“A stable and efficient material that uses sunlight to split water into hydrogen and oxygen would be an immense blessing” – Nathan S. Lewis

Course Web Site

Students enrolled in CHEM 401 have access to a Moodle course web site by logging into the Moodle server, and selecting CHEM 401 from their course listings.

Topics of study

In the search for abundant, renewable and carbon-free energy sources, scientists across the molecular and material sciences are on a quest to develop inexpensive and renewable methods to produce, store and use hydrogen fuel.  Other scientists are deeply skeptical of such an energy scheme.  Students in this seminar course will use primary and secondary research literature to explore various aspects of hydrogen energy systems.

  • Topic 1: Introduction to Hydrogen Energy Systems.
  • Topic 2: Changing Visions of Hydrogen.
  • Topic 3: Hydrogen from Fossil Fuels
  • Topic 4: Sustainable Approaches to Hydrogen Production
  • Topic 5: Hydrogen Production from Water Electrolysis
  • Topic 6: Hydrogen Production from Thermochemical Water Splitting
  • Topic 7: Hydrogen Production from Photoelectrochemical Water Splitting
  • Topic 8: Hydrogen Production from Photocatalytic Water Splitting
  • Topic 9: Hydrogen Production from Photobiological Water Splitting
  • Topic 10: Hydrogen Production from Biomass
  • Topic 11: Hydrogen Storage and Safety
  • Topic 12: Hydrogen Storage Materials
  • Topic 13: Using Hydrogen Fuel
  • Topic 14: Hydrogen Energy Infrastructure and Research

Course Information


Prof. Scott D. Cummings, Tomsich 314; PBX 5355; e-mail:


My schedule (and where you can find me throughout the week) is available online and is posted on my office door. I fully expect students to meet with me outside of class. You are welcome and encouraged to come.


Tuesdays & Thursdays 9:40-11:00 (Period B) in Tomsich 206.

REQUIRED MATERIALS: (available at the Kenyon College bookstore)

  • Introduction to Hydrogen Technology by Roman J. Press, K. S. V. Santhanam, Massoud J. Miri), Alla V. Bailey, Gerald A. Takacs, Wiley-Interscience 2008. ISBN-13: 978-0471779858.  (Amazon)
  • a calculator (bring to EVERY class)



·         Why Hydrogen” from the Rocky Mountain Institute