Hydraulic cell compression for performance preserving upscaling of PEM electrolyzers

Author(s):Florian J. Wirkert, Jeffrey Roth, Ulrich W. Rost, Michael Brodmann
Westfälische Hochschule Gelsenkirchen Bocholt Recklinghausen University of Applied Sciences, Neidenburger Str. 43, 45897 Gelsenkirchen, Germany
International Journal of Smart Grid and Clean Energy, vol. 6, no. 3, July 2017: pp. 171-176
ISSN: 2315-4462 (Print)
ISSN: 2373-3594 (Online)
Digital Object Identifier: 10.12720/sgce.6.3.171-176

Abstract:The technology of polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) electrolysis provides an efficient way to produce hydrogen. In combination with renewable energy sources, it promises to be one of the key factors towards a carbon-free energy infrastructure in the future. Today, PEM electrolyzers with a power consumption higher than 1 MW and a gas output pressure of 30 bar (or even higher) are already commercially available. Nevertheless, fundamental research and development for an improved efficiency is far from being finally accomplished, and mostly takes place on a laboratory scale. Upscaling the laboratory prototypes to an industrial size usually cannot be achieved without facing further problems and/or losing efficiency. With our novel system design based on hydraulic cell compression, a lot of the commonly occurring problems like inhomogeneous temperature and current distribution can be avoided. In this study we present first results of an upscaling by a factor of 30 in active cell area.

Keywords:Hydraulic cell compression, PEM electrolysis, upscaling laboratory models

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