Understanding the idea of water electrolysis is simpler than you might expect. When a direct current is applied to water this causes electrolysis. This process can split water up into oxygen and hydrogen. Electrolysis is one of the most appealing options for producing hydrogen in a way that utilizes renewable resources.
An electrolyzer, whether alkaline or otherwise, is composed of three components. There is a cathode, an anode, and an electrolyte that separates the first two components. There are various types of electrolysis and each functions in a slightly different way, largely based on what electrolyte is chosen to be used to produce the hydrogen gas.
Focusing in on alkaline water electrolyzers, the first thing to understand is that they operate by transporting hydroxide ions through a chosen electrolyte from the cathode to anode. Hydrogen is then generated on the side of the cathode. In past years, these electrolyzers used a solution of potassium hydroxide or sodium as the electrolyte. Nowadays, solid exchange membranes are proving to be a more efficient option.
Nearly 90% of the worlds hydrogen is produced using fossil fuels, which makes them hardly the eco-friendly energy type that they may be lauded as. Water electrolysis is the exception. The only things required to produce this hydrogen are water and electricity or another energy form.
One of the reasons that alkaline water electrolysis is gaining favor is because, compared to other electrolysis options, it uses inexpensive materials such as a porous separator and a catalyst not composed of precious materials. However, they aren’t perfect and can be hard to start up and shut down. They also can’t ramp up as quickly as some other options.
Instead of using porous separators, alkaline exchange membranes are becoming the most used alternative, partially because it can prevent the hydrogen gas mixing in electrolyzers. To make this hydrogen conversion more mainstream, new systems are being built to allow cheaper and easier conversion. Work continues and there are new breakthroughs on a constant basis.
At Dioxide Materials we offer a selection of electrolyzer components, as well as full kits with everything you need to begin. We also provide membranes, ionomers, and electrodes for the process. If you are interested in learning more about our work or purchasing our products.
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