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Home Environmental Electrochemical technology of hydrogen generation

Electrochemical technology of hydrogen generation


Podgorny Institute of Mechanical Engineering Problems of National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine has developed a new technology for electrochemical generation of hydrogen and oxygen by using metals of changeable valence as electrode materials, which has a lot of advantages in comparison with traditional methods for hydrogen and oxygen generation by electrolyses.

Oxidation of an active sponge electrode as the principal electrochemical reaction made it possible to reduce power consumption for production of 1 m3 hydrogen to 3,85 - 4,1 kW.h (traditional alkaline electrolysers have power consumption from 4,3 kW.h/m3 to 5,2 kW.h/m3).

Gas pressure interval is determined to be from 0,1 MPa to 70,0 MPa within the range of operating temperatures of electrolysis 350 – 423 K.

Hydrogen generation starts with supplying the negative potential onto the passive electrode where with the chemically active electrode being as an anode. Water decomposition develops with simultaneous liberation of hydrogen and oxygen.

Hydrogen is liberated on the passive electrode in the gaseous state and oxygen is chemically coupled with the active electrode (being accumulated as a chemical compound). Hydrogen liberation is accompanied by voltage growth and the given value the potential switch changes polarity. The passive electrode becomes the anode, and the active electrode becomes the cathode. The gaseous oxygen is liberated on the passive electrode and the active mass is reduced on the cathode. With reducing the metal of chemically active element the polarity is switched and the cycle is repeated.

The important part of the way proposed of hydrogen generation is the method developed for the gas absorbing electrode of the applicable structure, the use of which essentially reduces irreversible consumption during the electrochemical reaction of water decomposition.

Innovative Aspect and Main Advantages

Cyclic generation of hydrogen and oxygen excludes the necessity of membranes that increases reliability and safety of operation and provides generation of hydrogen and oxygen within the wide range of pressure. The technology proposed does not use metals of platinum group as electrode materials.

Areas of Application

The technology developed is designed for wide-scale introduction into the objects that use renewable energy sources and also in the industry where hydrogen is used as the technological product (chemical, metallurgical, food and other industries) or as an ecologically clean energy carrier.

The technological regimes of electrolysis cell with gas absorbing electrode have been developed and regime performances which minimize power consumption to generate hydrogen at high pressure have been determined.

High pressure electrolyser of 1.0 m3/h efficiency.

High pressure electrolyser
Fig. 1 High pressure electrolyser with 1.0 m3/h efficiency

Stage of Development

To apply the technology proposed in practice the operating prototype of high pressure electrolyser with 1.0 m3/h efficiency and 20.0 MPa pressure has been developed. The development has passed the laboratory and full-scale tests. The development is covered by patents.

Contact Details

Solovey Victor Professor, Dr.Sc
A.N. Podgorny Institute for Mechanical Engineering Problems NAS of Ukraine
2/10 Pozharsky Str., Kharkov 46, 61046 Ukraine
Tel. +38(0572) 94-28-11, 95-95-15
E-mail : This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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