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Advanced water electrolysis launched

By Gerald Ondrey |

water electrolysisLast month, thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions AG (Dortmund, Germany; www.thyssenkrupp-industrial-solutions.com) launched industrial-scale water electrolysis systems that make large-scale hydrogen production from renewable electricity economically attractive. The advanced water electrolyzer (diagram) features a well-proven cell design paired with an especially large (2.7 m2) active cell area. By further optimizing the proven “zero-gap” electrolysis technology (leaving virtually no gap between membrane and electrodes), very high efficiencies of more than 82% are achieved, says the company.

“We transferred our knowledge and experience from chlor-alkali zero-gap to the alkaline technology,” explains Roland Käppner, head of Energy Storage and Hydrogen at thyssenkrupp Uhde Chlorine Engineers. “Throughout more than five years of research and development, our engineers optimized the cell architecture, current density, materials, coatings and other parameters. Since we were running full-size cells in an industrial test environment during this time, we were able to create very realistic conditions in order to achieve very precise results,” explains Käppner.

To make deployment of large H2 projects as easy as possible, the thyssenkrupp technology is available in pre-fabricated, skid-mounted standard modules. “We designed our modules in sizes of 5, 10 and 20 MW each. The pre-mounted skid modules allow easy transport and quick installation with minimum effort. By simply adding them up, desired project sizes can easily be realized, up into ranges of several hundred megawatts,” says Käppner. “A 100-MW plant would be realized with five 20-MW modules. A 20-MW module is designed for 4,000 Nm3/h of H2 and contains several hundred cells.”

The first industrially deployed demonstration of the technology — an electrolyzer with design capacity of 1 MW — was commissioned in May for the Carbon2Chem project (www.thyssenkrupp.com/en/carbon2chem). “Compared to the full module size, this is a rather small-scale unit for our standards,” says Käppner. “It uses the full cell size, but less elements/cells, so the electrolyzer stack has just been built shorter,” he adds. “This site will also serve as further testing environment for green chemical value chains, which start with hydrogen and produce, for example, methanol, ammonia or other key chemicals.”

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