Partners plan membrane-free electrolyser production in Northern Ireland

Article by Adam Duckett

CLEAN Power Hydrogen (CPH2) has formed a joint venture to manufacture its membrane-free electrolyser technology from a base in Northern Ireland.

Its venture is with renewable energy project developer B9 Energy. Negotiations are underway to establish premises in Northern Ireland to begin production during 2021. CPH2 told The Chemical Engineer that is looking to produce a large volume of electrolysers to meet growing global demand and its initial concept is for a 2 GW/y factory that will scale up to full production capacity over five years. The venture will make electrolysers with hydrogen outputs that vary from kilograms to multiple tons per day.

Its technology lacks the membranes used in conventional proton exchange membrane electrolysers and alkaline electrolysers. The company claims the lack of a membrane will improve reliability and reduce both the investment and operating cost.

Its system decomposes water into hydrogen and oxygen gases in the form of bubbles. These are carried on a stream of aqueous alkaline electrolyte to a separating tower where the mixed gases are separated from the electrolyte. The electrolyte is recirculated back to the reactor stack while the mixed gas stream passes through a drying system and into the company’s patented cryogenic separation system where the oxygen is distilled out. The company says this produces highly-pure streams of liquefied oxygen and gaseous hydrogen.

These are then fed through a heat exchanger system to transfer the cooling energy to the incoming mixed gas stream to save on energy use. The hydrogen and oxygen gases then emerge from the system at close to ambient temperature.

CHP2 says it expects initial demand for its system will come from the water treatment sector where oxygen is used in biological treatment processes and hydrogen can be used to manufacture fertilisers.

B9 Energy CEO and Belfast Climate Commissioner David Surplus said: “This is a really exciting time for us. Working with CPH2 to manufacture their hydrogen electrolyser is the first step on an exciting zero-carbon joint roadmap for both companies in Northern Ireland.”

Article by Adam Duckett

Editor, The Chemical Engineer

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