When producing carbon-free hydrogen from renewable sources, electrolysis is an excellent choice. The process of electrolysis takes place in something called an electrolyser, which can range in size from small appliance-size equipment to larger scale production. So, what is hydrogen electrolysis? Continue reading our guide to discover more about hydrogen production of electrolysis.
Electrolysers are pieces of equipment that can use renewable electricity to produce high purity chemicals. These chemicals can be sold as reagents or substances for industry, or can be stored for future use. The stored chemicals – typically hydrogen – can be fed into a fuel cell to generate electricity. Electrolysers produce high purity gas by breaking down reactants with electricity. This is known as electrolysis.
Electrolysers are most commonly used with renewable energy because they’re able to work with a fluctuating power supplies, such as wind, solar and tidal power.
One method of operation is to use these renewable energy sources to generate high purity hydrogen, which can be stored for use with a fuel cell.
A key component of renewable energy systems that use hydrogen are electrolysers. There are two types of commercial electrolysers for hydrogen production of electrolysis, and they are:
Proton Exchange Membrane operation:
At TRP Polymer, we have manufactured electrolyser gaskets for the chlorine and hypochlorite (chloro-alkali electrolyser) industry for over 30 years. During this time, we’ve developed and specialised in bonding rubber to a thin PTFE veneer.
Over the past 30 years, we have made several advancements within the industry.
Firstly, an EPDM capable of excellent performance over 150°C was developed which now has many years of successful commercial use. This EPDM has excellent chemical resistance and high temperature resistance.
Secondly, the ability to process chemically-resistant PTFE veneers has been continuously developed to a point where veneers as thin as 0.25mm can be used for larger gaskets.
Thirdly, TRP Polymer’s expertise in chemically bonding PTFE and elastomers have significantly reduced permeation in applications. Research into TRP’s gasket has shown that for some chemicals, permeation can be reduced by up to 100 times compared to standard elastomers. The physical and mechanical properties are also maintained over longer periods of time.
The experience that TRP has in the field of hydrogen electrolysis gaskets has led to them being used in some of the biggest electrolysers. As a result, mouldings of up to 2.5 x 2m are currently produced at TRP, where a tolerance of +/- 5.5mm is maintained.
TRP Polymer has been involved in the manufacture of gaskets for use within hydrogen production of electrolysis, and in the manufacture for use within hydrogen fuel cells. This has led to the testing of our own materials in 99.995% H2 at 80°C (the approximate operating temperature of a fuel cell). The results can be seen below:
The materials are designed to serve a variety of applications:
In addition to the above developments of low permeation materials, TRP has also developed a reduced carbon footprint EPDM that’s suitable for use in electrolyser gaskets. Its chemical resistance and physical properties to be applied to a PTFE veneer match that of existing formulations. The new EPDM shows a carbon footprint reduction of 1kg of CO2 per 1kg of rubber when compared to EPDM produced solely from non-renewable hydrocarbons.