Small, light-weight and highly efficient H2O electrolyser assembly

Ref-Nr:

Technology abstract

A Greek R&D institution offers an H2O electrolyser that operates as H2 & O2 generator & as a compressor. The High-Pressure PEM electrolyser assembly (developed under an ESA-funded project) is used for energy storage applications & any applications that require intermittent & long-lasting H2 & O2 production. TRL:4-5. Large enterprises, SMEs, investors, R&D institutions & universities are sought for commercial exploitation & further develop the module.

Technology Description

The electrolyser assembly offered was developed by the research team in the framework of the construction and testing of a High-Pressure PEM Electrolyser (HP-PEMELY) stack, which  consumes 1.5 kW with thermodynamic efficiency ranging between 95 - 92% and an approximate weight of 1.5 – 2 kg.
However, the power consumption and accordingly H2 production rate (and consequently the weight) can be easily adjusted to the needs of the installation system.
The stack is based on commercially available PFSA-based electrolyte membranes, operating in the temperature range of T≤80°C. The applied Membrane Electrode Assemblies (MEAs) comprise IrOx-based anode electrodes (responsible for the H2O electrolysis process) and Pt-based cathode electrodes (responsible for the production of H2).
In addition, the whole design of the stack is based on space approved materials allowing the manufacturing of a light-weight and low-volume assembly, which can: (i) withstand high operating pressure values and (ii) operate intermittently for various cycles. The HP-PEMELY stack module can operate at high pressure values ranging from 1– 80 bar, at temperature T≤80°C, allowing simultaneous storage of the produced 100 vol.% H2 and 100 vol.% O2.
Finally, the HP-PEMELY stack can be easily transported, assembled and tested in various stations/setups.

Innovations & Advantages

High Pressure electrolysers, have been considered as potential energy storage solution for various terrestrial and space applications. PEM electrolysers can store renewable electricity in the form of H2 and they offer significant advantages over rechargeable batteries, as energy storage devices, especially in applications where high specific energy density is required like in the case of telecommunication satellites.
A high pressure PEM electrolyser may operate in the case where excess power is available, indicatively from solar array (charging mode/reactant regeneration), towards the production of 100% pure H2 and 100% pure O2. The operation of the electrolyser at high pressure offers significant advantages which include: (i) reduction of internal cell resistance (ii) reduction of volume of gas bubbles, which facilitates the transportation of liquid water and (iii) production of compressed H2 and O2, which enables the electrolyser to perform at the same time as a gas compressor.
The latter property increases the overall efficiency of the whole process, including gases production and storage. Finally, the offered assembly is based on light-weight, space approved materials, capable to withstand long-term, intermittent operation and optionally high operating pressure values.

Current and Potential Domains of Application

H2O electrolysis, Regenerative Fuel Cells, High density power storage applications, Production and storage of pure H2 and O2 gases.