Skip to main content
placeholder image

A high-performance capillary-fed electrolysis cell promises more cost-competitive renewable hydrogen

Journal Article


Abstract


  • Renewable, or green, hydrogen will play a critical role in the decarbonisation of hard-to-abate sectors and will therefore be important in limiting global warming. However, renewable hydrogen is not cost-competitive with fossil fuels, due to the moderate energy efficiency and high capital costs of traditional water electrolysers. Here a unique concept of water electrolysis is introduced, wherein water is supplied to hydrogen- and oxygen-evolving electrodes via capillary-induced transport along a porous inter-electrode separator, leading to inherently bubble-free operation at the electrodes. An alkaline capillary-fed electrolysis cell of this type demonstrates water electrolysis performance exceeding commercial electrolysis cells, with a cell voltage at 0.5 A cm−2 and 85 °C of only 1.51 V, equating to 98% energy efficiency, with an energy consumption of 40.4 kWh/kg hydrogen (vs. ~47.5 kWh/kg in commercial electrolysis cells). High energy efficiency, combined with the promise of a simplified balance-of-plant, brings cost-competitive renewable hydrogen closer to reality.

Publication Date


  • 2022

Citation


  • Hodges, A., Hoang, A. L., Tsekouras, G., Wagner, K., Lee, C. Y., Swiegers, G. F., & Wallace, G. G. (2022). A high-performance capillary-fed electrolysis cell promises more cost-competitive renewable hydrogen. Nature Communications, 13(1). doi:10.1038/s41467-022-28953-x

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-85126284627

Volume


  • 13

Issue


  • 1

Abstract


  • Renewable, or green, hydrogen will play a critical role in the decarbonisation of hard-to-abate sectors and will therefore be important in limiting global warming. However, renewable hydrogen is not cost-competitive with fossil fuels, due to the moderate energy efficiency and high capital costs of traditional water electrolysers. Here a unique concept of water electrolysis is introduced, wherein water is supplied to hydrogen- and oxygen-evolving electrodes via capillary-induced transport along a porous inter-electrode separator, leading to inherently bubble-free operation at the electrodes. An alkaline capillary-fed electrolysis cell of this type demonstrates water electrolysis performance exceeding commercial electrolysis cells, with a cell voltage at 0.5 A cm−2 and 85 °C of only 1.51 V, equating to 98% energy efficiency, with an energy consumption of 40.4 kWh/kg hydrogen (vs. ~47.5 kWh/kg in commercial electrolysis cells). High energy efficiency, combined with the promise of a simplified balance-of-plant, brings cost-competitive renewable hydrogen closer to reality.

Publication Date


  • 2022

Citation


  • Hodges, A., Hoang, A. L., Tsekouras, G., Wagner, K., Lee, C. Y., Swiegers, G. F., & Wallace, G. G. (2022). A high-performance capillary-fed electrolysis cell promises more cost-competitive renewable hydrogen. Nature Communications, 13(1). doi:10.1038/s41467-022-28953-x

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-85126284627

Volume


  • 13

Issue


  • 1