Alkaline Electrolysers are Shaping the Future of Energy Production

diagram of Mubea components for electrolysers and fuel cells

Alkaline electrolysers use an alkaline solution (usually potassium hydroxide) to split water into hydrogen and oxygen gases through an electrochemical reaction called electrolysis. When an electric current is passed through the electrolyte, water molecules dissociate into hydrogen ions (H+) at the cathode and oxygen ions (O2-) at the anode.

This hydrogen gas is collected for use as a fuel source, while the oxygen gas can be released into the atmosphere or used for other purposes. Alkaline electrolysers are commonly used for large-scale hydrogen production, energy storage, and industrial applications, and have a wide range of applications in various sectors. Here are some of the key uses:

1. Chemical Production

  • Hydrogen for ammonia production: Ammonia is a crucial component in fertilizers and a vital industrial feedstock. Alkaline electrolysers are used to produce hydrogen for the Haber-Bosch process, the main industrial process for ammonia synthesis.
  • Production of other chemicals: Alkaline electrolysers also produce hydrogen for the production of methanol, chlorine, hydrogen peroxide, and other chemicals.

2. Hydrogen Fuel Cells

  • Fuel cell vehicles: Alkaline electrolysers can generate hydrogen to power fuel cell vehicles, offering a clean and sustainable alternative to fossil fuels.
  • Stationary fuel cells: Hydrogen from alkaline electrolysers can also be used to power stationary fuel cells, providing clean and reliable power for various applications, including buildings, data centers, and backup power systems.

3. Grid Balancing and Energy Storage

  • Storing excess renewable energy: Alkaline electrolysers can convert surplus renewable energy (e.g., solar or wind) into hydrogen, storing it for later use when energy demand is high. This helps to balance the grid and increase the utilization of renewable energy sources.
  • Grid-balancing services: Alkaline electrolysers can be used to provide grid-balancing services by rapidly adjusting their hydrogen production rate in response to fluctuations in electricity demand and supply.

4. Other Applications

  • Metal refining: Alkaline electrolysers are used in the refining process of some metals, such as aluminum and titanium.
  • Hydrogenation processes: Various industrial processes, like hydrogenation of edible oils, utilize hydrogen produced by alkaline electrolysers.
  • Research and development: Alkaline electrolysers play a vital role in research and development activities related to hydrogen production, storage, and utilization technologies.

As the demand for clean energy solutions grows, the use of alkaline electrolysers is expected to expand significantly in various sectors. Their mature technology, potential for high efficiency and scalability, and ability to integrate with renewable energy sources make them a key player in the transition towards a cleaner and more sustainable future.

Disc Springs for Alkaline & PEM Electrolysers

Disc springs, also known as Belleville washers, provide compression and ensure proper sealing in certain components of the device. These springs are typically used in the electrolyzer stack, and in the electrode assembly. Consisting of a cathode and anode separated by an electrolyte-filled gap, these components need to maintain proper contact and compression for efficient electrolysis.

Placing disc springs between the electrodes exerts a controlled force, ensuring continuous contact between the electrodes and the electrolyte. This pressure helps to maintain a stable electrolysis reaction, improve performance, and prevent leakage. Disc springs can also be used in other parts of the electrolyzer, such as in the sealing mechanism of the electrolyte compartments or in the compression of gaskets or seals.

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