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Optimization of membraneless alkaline water electrolysis

Rox, H.; Gatter, J.; Frense, E.; Schoppmann, K.; Rüdiger, F.; Krause, L.; Yang, X.; Mutschke, G.; Fröhlich, J.; Eckert, K.

Abstract

Objectives
Membraneless alkaline electrolyzer (MAEL) allow higher current densities compared to conventional designs [1] and provide very good access to the electrodes, making them ideal for research to better understand bubble formation and detachment.

Methods
In the present study both elements of a MAEL, porous electrodes and cell geometry, are optimized individually. For the geometrical optimization, CFD and current simulations were performed to obtain an optimized cell geometry that ensures constant conditions for the water splitting reaction over the entire electrode area. A three-electrode cell was used to perform parametric studies of HER on porous electrodes [2] and functionalized surfaces [3]. Therefore, Particle Image Velocimetry and Shadowgraphy were used to systematically study the influence of the electrode surface and the electrolyte flow as driving force for an effective H2 and O2 separation in a MAEL.

Results & Conclusions
It is shown that below a critical Recrit the evolving bubbles are stuck on the porous electrodes and lead to a blockage of the electrochemical active sites and to an increase of the cell potential. At the optimal flow rate to current density ratio high gas purity and overall efficiency were observed. Importantly, this study presented an experimental framework that guides the electrode and cell design of MAELs and analyzes their performance limits.

Literature
[1] D.V. Esposito, Joule. 2017, 1, 651-658.
[2] H. Rox et al., Int. J. Hydrog. Energy. 2023, 48, 2892-2905.
[3] L. Krause et al., ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces. 2023, 15, 14, 18290-18299.

Keywords: Alkaline electrolysis; Membraneless electrolyzer; Bubble dynamics; Shadowgraphy; PIV

Involved research facilities

  • Data Center
  • Lecture (Conference)
    HydrogenDays 2024, 21.03.2024, Prague, Czech republic

Permalink: https://www.hzdr.de/publications/Publ-38888