Water Electrolysis: from Components to Systems

H. Xu, C. Mittelsteadt
Giner Inc.,
United States

Keywords: electrolysis, membrane, catalyst, H2 production, renewable energy

Summary:

Hydrogen production from water electrolysis is attractive due to its simple and clean nature. The utilization of renewable energy (solar and wind) has further substantially driven investments into water electrolyzers. It is estimated that the water electrolyzer market can rise up to 300 GW over the next two decades and power to gas is poised to become a multi-billion dollar market. As renewable energy emerges and penetrates further into the energy market, the storage of surplus “off peak” electricity has received widespread attention. An electrolyzer can utilize “off peak” electricity from solar or wind farms to produce hydrogen (H2). This hydrogen can then be operated in a fuel cell mode to generate electricity when needed. However, current hydrogen production from electrolysis comprises only a small fraction of the global hydrogen market due to the high cost that results from expensive materials even if “free” electricity from renewable energy can be acquired. Giner has been a world leader in researching, developing and manufacturing water electrolyzers and reversible fuel cells. We have been striving to address the challenges of these materials (catalyst, membrane, and bipolar plates) to improve electrolyzers’ performance, extend their lifetime, and lower their capital cost. These efforts include: 1) lowering platinum-group metal (PGM) catalyst loading; 2) discovering non-precious metal catalysts; 3) improving membrane durability; 4) reducing H2 crossover across membrane; 5) increasing corrosion resistance of separators and other hardware. Some of these advances have been applied in our electrolyzer products, from small lab hydrogen generators to MW stacks. The performance and efficiency of our electrolyzers are thus tremendously improved. Giner has started MW Initiative in collaboration with our major partners and will establish a new entity & facility to manufacture and sell stacks and systems. The development and deployment of these MW electrolyzer stacks will cultivate the large-scale storage and application of a variety of renewable energy.