Fuel energy costs can be exhorbitant when you consider the traditional options offered. However, in recent years, wind energy and photovoltaic energy have presented newpossibilities. And, as technology continues to evolve, and more and more companies are committing to help build a sustainable future, new possibilities evolve.
Hydrogen created through electrolysis of water is an alternative that may change the fabric of society if things continue improving as they recently have. Nowadays you can search the internet for “water electrolyzer for sale” and find companies that are more than happy to provide it. But what is being offered exactly?
In most cases, hydrogen is created through a process called steam reforming. This typically involves the use of methane, the main ingredient in natural gas. The gas is combined with steam at a high temperature while a catalyst is nearby. This leads to an output of hydrogen and carbon dioxide. Unfortunately, this carbon dioxide greenhouse gas is released into the world while the hydrogen is collected. Hydrogen can also be produced through power to gas processes whereby electricity from renewable sources such as wind or solar are used to produce hydrogen via electrolysis, thereby producing a renewable hydrogen fuel.
Electrolysis is the process that t splits the water molecule into oxygen and hydrogen when energy is applied through electricity. The electrochemical process occurs in an electrolyzer which can vary in size. Much like a fuel cell, an electrolyzer has an anode and a cathode that is separated by an electrolyte. Up until recently, electrolysis was rare because it was more expensive than the needs for steam reforming. Today, there are more efficient ways to produce hydrogen that is carbon free. As the world consumes more and more energy, countries are finding ways to leverage renewable wind and solar energy as energy sources for hydrogen production through water electrolysis and hydrogen storage.
A full electrolysis plant opening on this day would deliver an energy efficiency of approximately 80%. That means that the hydrogen produced is around 80% of the components used to break up the water molecule. On the other hand, steam reforming is only about 65% efficient.
The problem is that the initial capital expense to build a steam reforming system is much lower than that of an electrolyzer of the same size. This might seem like a bad thing; but in reality, it’s something that will change as time goes on and new technologies and better catalysts are introduced in the market. The cost of electrolyzers is dropping as a low carbon economy comes to fruition. The sizes will also get larger, which means the cost per capacity unit will also fall. It’s only a matter of time before electrolyzers are more cost effective than steam reforming machinery.
Electrolyzers with non-precious metals that offer rapid turn on and off capabilities and high currents.
At Dioxide Materials, we offer high-quality electrolyzer kits and components, along with other key materials and equipment needed for the process. Other products we offer include catalyst coated electrodes and anion exchange membranes. If you are interested in learning more about our products, please visit www.dioxidematerials.com.
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