what the hell is an electrolyser ?
- Green Power
- Published on October 21
How electrolysers are used in the production of hydrogen
Hydrogen is a versatile and clean fuel that has the potential to play a major role in the transition to a low-carbon economy. It can be used to generate electricity, power vehicles, and produce heat, all without emitting greenhouse gases.
One way to produce hydrogen is through electrolysis, a process that uses electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. Electrolysers are devices that can be used to perform this process at scale.
There are three main types of electrolysers: alkaline, polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM), and solid oxide electrolyte (SOE). Alkaline electrolysers are the oldest and most mature technology, but they are also the least efficient. PEM electrolysers are more efficient, but they are also more expensive. SOE electrolysers are the most efficient type of electrolyser, but they are also the newest and least commercialized.
How electrolysers work
Electrolysers work by passing an electric current through a water-filled cell. The current splits the water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen ions. The hydrogen ions travel through a membrane to the cathode, where they combine with electrons to form hydrogen gas. The oxygen ions travel to the anode, where they combine with electrons to form oxygen gas.
Benefits of using electrolysers to produce hydrogen
There are several benefits to using electrolysers to produce hydrogen:
- Electrolysers are a clean and efficient way to produce hydrogen. They do not emit any greenhouse gases or other pollutants.
- Electrolysers can be powered by renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power. This makes it possible to produce hydrogen without relying on fossil fuels.
- Electrolysers can be used to produce hydrogen at a variety of scales. This makes them suitable for a wide range of applications, from small-scale hydrogen production for on-site use to large-scale hydrogen production for industrial use.
Challenges of using electrolysers to produce hydrogen
One of the main challenges of using electrolysers to produce hydrogen is the cost. Electrolysers are currently more expensive than other methods of hydrogen production, such as steam reforming of natural gas. However, the cost of electrolysers is expected to come down as the technology improves and economies of scale are achieved.
Another challenge is the availability of clean electricity. Electrolysers need to be powered by clean electricity to produce green hydrogen. However, the availability of clean electricity is still limited in many parts of the world.
Applications of electrolysers
Electrolysers are used in a variety of applications, including:
- Industrial hydrogen production: Electrolysers are used to produce hydrogen for a variety of industrial applications, such as ammonia production, oil refining, and steelmaking.
- Renewable energy integration: Electrolysers can be used to store and dispatch renewable energy. When there is excess renewable energy available, it can be used to power electrolysers to produce hydrogen. The hydrogen can then be stored and used to generate electricity when there is less renewable energy available.
- Transportation: Electrolysers can be used to produce hydrogen for fuel cell vehicles. Fuel cell vehicles emit only water vapor, making them a clean and efficient alternative to gasoline-powered vehicles.
Electrolysers are a key technology for the production of green hydrogen. They offer a clean and efficient way to produce hydrogen from renewable energy sources. As the cost of electrolysers comes down and the availability of clean electricity increases, electrolysers are expected to play an increasingly important role in the transition to a low-carbon economy.