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Water is split into hydrogen and oxygen via the application of an electric current, using a porous diaphragm and an alkaline electrolyte.

Technology

What is it?

Water is split into hydrogen and oxygen via the application of an electric current, using a porous diaphragm and an alkaline electrolyte.

Why is it important?

Alkaline electrolysis is an established technology which is already being employed at industrial scale.

Characteristics

  • Inputs: Water, electricity
  • By-products: Oxygen
  • Operating temperature: <100°C
  • Energy efficiency: ~69%

Benefits

  • Well established supply chain and manufacturing capacity
  • Large stack sizes available
  • Long-term stability
  • Low capital cost
  • Non-noble materials
  • Mature technology
  • Large stack sizes available (in MW range)

Limitations

  • High minimum load requirement (20%–40%)
  • Limited dynamic operation (requires stable load)
  • Corrosive liquid electrolyte
  • Large footprint
  • Does not accommodate variability of power supply as well as other electrochemical methods
  • Crossover of gases leads to lower degree of purity, and reduced efficiency due to re-formation of water
  • Low current density

RD&D priorities

  • Improve operational flexibility
  • Enable higher temperature operation
  • Improve oxygen evolution
  • Achieve higher pressure operation

Known active organisations

  • Curtin University
  • Monash University
  • Queensland University of Technology
  • The University of Adelaide
  • The University of Melbourne
  • The University of New South Wales
  • The University of Western Australia

Other opportunities like this

  • Water is split into hydrogen and oxygen via the application of an electric current, using a porous anion exchange membrane diaphragm and an alkaline electrolyte.

  • A variation of an electrochemical system (AE, PEM, SOE) with a portion of the energy input being supplied by the chemical conversion of coal or other carbon sources such as biomass, alcohols or other hydrocarbons. Assisted electrolysis can be either high or low temperature.

Process group

Readiness Level

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