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Water is split into hydrogen and oxygen via the application of an electric current, using an acidic solid polymer electrolyte membrane.


Technology

What is it?

Water is split into hydrogen and oxygen via the application of an electric current, using an acidic solid polymer electrolyte membrane.

Why is it important?

Is an established technology with a low footprint, and can accommodate a renewable energy supply.

Characteristics

  • Inputs: Water, electricity
  • By-products: Oxygen
  • Operating temperature: <100°C

Benefits

  • Enables differential pressure operation – eliminates need for strict pressure controls, enables rapid changes in current for renewable integration, enables low pressure oxygen for safety and lower costs
  • Direct leveraging of PEM fuel cell advances
  • High current densities (low OPEX)
  • High current density and voltage efficiency
  • High operating pressure
  • High purity hydrogen
  • Small, flexible and modular
  • Polymer membrane allows for thinner electrolyte than alkaline electrolysers.
  • High current density operation – reduces operational costs, and potentially overall electrolysis costs
  • Low gas crossover leads to high gas purity and fast response times to changes in power supply

Limitations

  • High cost of membrane and noble metal catalyst
  • Acidic corrosive environment

RD&D priorities

  • Improve durability of cell components
  • Develop advanced catalysts to improve efficiency and reduce noble-metal use
  • Develop alternatives to platinum-based components
  • Achieve higher pressure operation, while preventing cross-permeation of gases
  • Develop low cost and corrosion resistant current collectors and separator plates

Known active organisations

  • CSIRO
  • Curtin University
  • Deakin University
  • The Future Fuels Cooperative Research Centre
  • Monash University
  • Queensland University of Technology
  • The University of Adelaide
  • The University of New South Wales

Other opportunities like this

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

  • 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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