Clean Power Hydrogen launches membraneless electrolyzers

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CPH2 is launching an electrolyzer without membranes that will reportedly compete with proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolysis in terms of efficiency and costs.

“Our stack is very simple: just stainless steel, on stainless steel,” CPH2 CEO Jon Duffy told pv magazine, adding that the technology is easy to scale. 

The system mixes potable water with hydroxide ions (electrolytes) to the stack, where a chemical reaction happens, generating mixed hydrogen and oxygen gas

The wet gas enters the dryers, where desiccant removes the water from the mixed gas stream. The gas then continues its journey to the cryogen for separation. The oxygen liquifies at approximately -200 C, leaving pure hydrogen as a gas and pure oxygen as liquid. 

“The cold hydrogen gas, liquid oxygen, and incoming mixed gas are then passed through a patented three-stream heat exchanger. As the oxygen regasifies and the hydrogen leaves as a gas, it precools the incoming mixed gas,” said Duffy. “By the time the mixed gas reaches the bottom of the heat exchanger, the oxygen is already liquid.”

According to Duffy, the system is safe, “perhaps even safer” than PEM electrolyzers. 

“The electrolyzers produce a mix of gas and oxygen,” Duffy told pv magazine. “If you make sure there is no ignition source … there is even less risk than PEM electrolysis, as membranes degrading often go undetected and are risky.” 

The new electrolyzer uses less energy at the stack than PEM electrolysis, as it does not have to force electrons through membranes. However, it still requires more power for the cryogenic separation process. It does not use any critical raw materials. More than PEM, it requires dryers and a low-temperature system.

“The cryogenic is effectively just a vacuum cooled by liquid nitrogen. All the additional parts are fairly standard bits of equipment,” said Duffy.

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CPH2 has already installed some small test units for customers. It is now speeding up its tests in different geographies. 

“We have a 0.5 MW system being testedwe hope to have megawatt systems on customers’ sites end of this year, beginning of next year,” said Duffy. “We are at the last testing stage. If clients ordered our electrolyzers, they would be delivered in 12 to 15 months.”

The company owns the patent and intellectual property and is collaborating with other companies to produce and commercialize the new system. 

“We can license out our technology and assemble electrolyzers ourselves at the same time,” said Duffy. “We would get to 1 GW of manufacturing capacity by 2030 for ourselves, and 3 GW from our licensed partners.”

CPH2 has signed agreements with Kenera Energy Solution, a subsidiary of a Scottish-German company. 

“They have a large manufacturing base in Germany, and they will start producing the electrolyzers next year. We also signed a partnership with New Zealand’s Fabrum, which provides us with the cryogenic system and is already producing this year for the markets in Australia and New Zealand,” said Duffy. “We will also assemble and deliver by the end of the year. We are also looking for a new location, most likely in Northern Ireland, to increase production.”

When the company proves that its business model works in Germany and New Zealand, it will copy and paste the blueprint in other markets. 

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