The UK’s inaugural Hydrogen Week (13-19 February 2023) has highlighted and celebrated the progress of innovative technologies, investment and infrastructure that will support hydrogen production and the critical role that it will play in accelerating the global energy transition.
Hydrogen is a powerful enabler of a low carbon future, with the potential to ‘provide a clean source of fuel and heat for our homes, transport and industry’, as stated in the UK Government’s ‘10-Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution’. By 2050, The Climate Change Committee have estimated that approximately 60% of demand for heat across all sectors could be delivered using hydrogen.
There are multiple ways in which hydrogen can be generated, some of which are friendlier to the environment than others. The different ‘types’ of hydrogen are colour coded based on the source of production and relative emissions throughout the production process (the hydrogen rainbow). According to the European Commission, 96% of hydrogen currently produced is grey hydrogen, which is generated from natural gas, methane, or Steam Methane Reforming (SMR). During the production process of grey hydrogen significant amounts of CO2 emissions are released into the atmosphere. In order for us to decarbonise and meet our NetZero objectives in the intended timescale, hydrogen must be generated from alternative renewable sources.
So, How Does Green Hydrogen enable the drive towards NetZero?
Green hydrogen is hydrogen generated from renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar and is produced using a process called electrolysis; splitting water into its component molecules hydrogen and oxygen. No harmful greenhouse gas emissions are generated at any stage of green hydrogen production making it a viable and sustainable energy source, potentially enabling us to change the way we heat our homes, fuel transport and power industrial processes. In short, it has the greatest potential to displace fossil fuels as a future energy source.
However, to make the mainstream use of green hydrogen a reality, significant investment and scale up of dedicated infrastructure is required, as well as a need for the technologies used to generate it to demonstrate both performance and affordability. Water electrolysis is one of these technologies.
COATINGS TO INCREASE ELECTROLYSER EFFICIENCY & LIFETIME
At TFP Hydrogen, we are experts in the development of electrochemical materials and our specialist coatings are helping to reduce the cost of green hydrogen production using PEM water electrolysers, by increasing both the stack efficiency and lifetime of these systems.
We offer a range of coatings designed specifically for PEM electrolyser components which both reduce and stabilise the internal resistances that (if not maintained at a low level) would lead to increase energy consumption over the systems operational lifetime.
Our coatings are used on a number of different titanium PEM electrolyser components to increase the performance and lifetime of the system. The coatings protect Cell Separators, Bipolar and Unipolar plates from corrosion, reducing hydriding & embrittlement which increases the ohmic resistance and can lead to mechanical failure. The result is improved long term component performance and cell lifetime.
The coatings offer the same corrosion protection for macro transport layer meshes and porous transport layers (PTLs), such as titanium sinters & felts, as well as being designed to lower the interfacial contact resistances of these components and maintain this over 10,000s of hours. In PTLs the specially designed coatings also protect against oxidation and reduce over potential, enabling operation at high energy efficiency over long time periods. All these benefits mean that the electrolyser system is able to operate at high energy efficiency over long time periods, which is necessary to make green hydrogen production more competitive.
For more information on any of our products and rapidly scalable technology, please get in touch, and our expert team will be happy to discuss it in more detail.