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Scientists at ARCI develop an energy-efficient method for producing hydrogen with a smaller carbon footprint

Scientists at ARCI develop an energy-efficient method for producing hydrogen with a smaller carbon footprint

Indian scientists have found a way to make hydrogen that is 99.99 percent pure from a mixture of methanol and water at normal pressure and temperature. It only needs one-third of the electricity needed for water electrolysis. Hydrogen is getting a lot of attention because it has a lot of energy per pound: 40 kWh/kg. Polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) can be used in the ECMR process, which means hydrogen can be made at a lower temperature and pressure (25-60oC). Steps to separate hydrogen from CO2 don’t need to be done because it is well separated from CO2 by a polymer membrane.

Key Highlight:

  • Indian scientists have developed a method to produce high purity (99.99%) hydrogen from methanol-water mixtures using only one-third of the electrical energy required for water electrolysis.
  • With zero or near-zero end-use emissions and abundant fossil fuel resources, hydrogen is a promising sustainable energy carrier for the near future.
  • ARCI owns the patents (338862/2020 and 369206/2021).
  • ECMR uses a polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) to create hydrogen at lower temperatures and pressures, unlike chemical reforming.
  • The ARCI team has constructed a 5.0 kg/day electrolysis plant to produce hydrogen.
  • ARCI’s hydrogen is 99.99 percent pure and may be utilized directly in PEM fuel cells to create 11-13 kW.
  • The PEM-based ECMR electrolyzer stack core components were built in-house and integrated with other system components.

Indian scientists have found a way to make hydrogen from a mixture of methanol and water that is 99.99% pure at room temperature and pressure. This method uses only one-third of the electricity needed to make hydrogen from water electrolysis.

Hydrogen can be an ideal sustainable energy carrier with near-zero or zero end-use emissions and fossil fuel resources that are always being replenished. It would play a huge role shortly. Compared to chemical fuels like gasoline, diesel, and liquid petroleum gas, hydrogen has an energy value of 40 kWh/kg. This is much more energy than chemical fuels like gasoline, diesel, and liquid petroleum gas. Water is the most common raw material that has hydrogen in it. It can also be found in natural gas, petroleum, and biomass, and they can be used to make hydrogen, which can then be used to make electricity.

Water electrolysis and reformation of hydrocarbon like methane are common methods for hydrogen production. Using green hydrogen made from renewable energy and a water electrolysis process to make electricity for India’s clean-fuels transition would be a big help.

Scientists at the International Advanced Research Centre for Powder Metallurgy & New Materials (ARCI), part of the Department of Science and Technology in India, have found a way to make hydrogen from a mixture of methanol and water at normal pressure and temperature. This process is called electrochemical methanol reformation (ECMR). The main benefit of this process is that it doesn’t use as much electricity to make hydrogen as water electrolysis does. Practical water electrolysis needs 55-65 kWh/kg of hydrogen to make. There are two Indian patents for this technology: Indian Patent 338862/2020 and 369206/2021.

ECMR can make hydrogen at a lower temperature and pressure than chemical reformation. This is because it uses a polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM). Hydrogen doesn’t need to be separated or purified because it is well separated from CO2 by the polymer membrane used in the system, so there aren’t any more steps. The ARCI team is working on this technology and has made an electrolysis unit that can make up to 5.0 kg of hydrogen a day. The electrolyzer stack needs about 17 kWhr per kg of material. The hydrogen made by ARCI is very pure (99.99 percent) and can be used right away in PEM fuel cells to make the power of about 11-13 kW.

The core parts of the PEM-based ECMR electrolyzer stack were made at home and combined with other system parts. Exfoliated graphite was used to make the reactant flow field plate for the electrolyzer stack. Carbon materials have been used as bipolar plates instead of titanium plates, usually used in electrolyzer unit assembly. This has been one of the most important steps in replacing titanium plates with carbon materials.

The ARCI team has developed their own parts that make up the Membrane Electrode Assembly (MEA), bipolar plates, and other process equipment. This method will cut the cost of hydrogen significantly more than the water electrolysis method, and it can be easily used with renewable energy sources. ARCI is working with industry partners to ensure that renewable energy sources like PV can be integrated with the rest of the electricity grid.

(Indian Patent 338862/2020 and 369206/2021).

Contact Dr. R. Balaji, a senior scientist at the Centre for Fuel Cell Technology at ARCI for more information.

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