skip to main content
OSTI.GOV title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: Low-Cost High-Pressure Hydrogen Generator

Abstract

Electrolysis of water, particularly in conjunction with renewable energy sources, is potentially a cost-effective and environmentally friendly method of producing hydrogen at dispersed forecourt sites, such as automotive fueling stations. The primary feedstock for an electrolyzer is electricity, which could be produced by renewable sources such as wind or solar that do not produce carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gas emissions. However, state-of-the-art electrolyzer systems are not economically competitive for forecourt hydrogen production due to their high capital and operating costs, particularly the cost of the electricity used by the electrolyzer stack. In this project, Giner Electrochemical Systems, LLC (GES) developed a low cost, high efficiency proton-exchange membrane (PEM) electrolysis system for hydrogen production at moderate pressure (300 to 400 psig). The electrolyzer stack operates at differential pressure, with hydrogen produced at moderate pressure while oxygen is evolved at near-atmospheric pressure, reducing the cost of the water feed and oxygen handling subsystems. The project included basic research on catalysts and membranes to improve the efficiency of the electrolysis reaction as well as development of advanced materials and component fabrication methods to reduce the capital cost of the electrolyzer stack and system. The project culminated in delivery of a prototype electrolyzermore » module to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory for testing at the National Wind Technology Center. Electrolysis cell efficiency of 72% (based on the lower heating value of hydrogen) was demonstrated using an advanced high-strength membrane developed in this project. This membrane would enable the electrolyzer system to exceed the DOE 2012 efficiency target of 69%. GES significantly reduced the capital cost of a PEM electrolyzer stack through development of low cost components and fabrication methods, including a 60% reduction in stack parts count. Economic analysis indicates that hydrogen could be produced for $3.79 per gge at an electricity cost of $0.05/kWh by the lower-cost PEM electrolyzer developed in this project, assuming high-volume production of large-scale electrolyzer systems.« less

Authors:
;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Giner Electrochemical Systems, LLC, Newton, MA
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)
OSTI Identifier:
926321
Report Number(s):
DOE/GO/13029-20
GESC02-36
DOE Contract Number:  
FC36-04GO13029
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
08 HYDROGEN; 42 ENGINEERING; Electrolyzer, proton-exchange membrane, hydrogen, differential pressure, high efficiency

Citation Formats

Cropley, Cecelia C, and Norman, Timothy J. Low-Cost High-Pressure Hydrogen Generator. United States: N. p., 2008. Web. doi:10.2172/926321.
Cropley, Cecelia C, & Norman, Timothy J. Low-Cost High-Pressure Hydrogen Generator. United States. https://doi.org/10.2172/926321
Cropley, Cecelia C, and Norman, Timothy J. 2008. "Low-Cost High-Pressure Hydrogen Generator". United States. https://doi.org/10.2172/926321. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/926321.
@article{osti_926321,
title = {Low-Cost High-Pressure Hydrogen Generator},
author = {Cropley, Cecelia C and Norman, Timothy J},
abstractNote = {Electrolysis of water, particularly in conjunction with renewable energy sources, is potentially a cost-effective and environmentally friendly method of producing hydrogen at dispersed forecourt sites, such as automotive fueling stations. The primary feedstock for an electrolyzer is electricity, which could be produced by renewable sources such as wind or solar that do not produce carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gas emissions. However, state-of-the-art electrolyzer systems are not economically competitive for forecourt hydrogen production due to their high capital and operating costs, particularly the cost of the electricity used by the electrolyzer stack. In this project, Giner Electrochemical Systems, LLC (GES) developed a low cost, high efficiency proton-exchange membrane (PEM) electrolysis system for hydrogen production at moderate pressure (300 to 400 psig). The electrolyzer stack operates at differential pressure, with hydrogen produced at moderate pressure while oxygen is evolved at near-atmospheric pressure, reducing the cost of the water feed and oxygen handling subsystems. The project included basic research on catalysts and membranes to improve the efficiency of the electrolysis reaction as well as development of advanced materials and component fabrication methods to reduce the capital cost of the electrolyzer stack and system. The project culminated in delivery of a prototype electrolyzer module to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory for testing at the National Wind Technology Center. Electrolysis cell efficiency of 72% (based on the lower heating value of hydrogen) was demonstrated using an advanced high-strength membrane developed in this project. This membrane would enable the electrolyzer system to exceed the DOE 2012 efficiency target of 69%. GES significantly reduced the capital cost of a PEM electrolyzer stack through development of low cost components and fabrication methods, including a 60% reduction in stack parts count. Economic analysis indicates that hydrogen could be produced for $3.79 per gge at an electricity cost of $0.05/kWh by the lower-cost PEM electrolyzer developed in this project, assuming high-volume production of large-scale electrolyzer systems.},
doi = {10.2172/926321},
url = {https://www.osti.gov/biblio/926321}, journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2008},
month = {4}
}