Ultra High Pressure Hydrogen Studies
Hydrogen has been called the fuel of the future, and as it’s non- renewable counterparts become scarce the economic viability of hydrogen gains traction. The potential of hydrogen is marked by its high mass specific energy density and wide applicability as a fuel in fuel cell vehicles and homes. However hydrogen’s volume must be reduced via pressurization or liquefaction in order to make it more transportable and volume efficient. Currently the vast majority of industrially produced hydrogen comes from steam reforming of natural gas. This practice yields low-pressure gas which must then be compressed at considerable cost and uses fossil fuels as a feedstock leaving behind harmful CO and CO2 gases as a by-product. The second method used by industry to produce hydrogen gas is low pressure electrolysis. In comparison the electrolysis of water at low pressure can produce pure hydrogen and oxygen gas with no harmful by-products using only water as a feedstock, but it will still need to be compressed before use. Multiple theoretical works agree that high pressure electrolysis could reduce the energy losses due to product gas compression. However these works openly admit that their projected gains are purely theoretical and ignore the practical limitations and resistances of a real life high pressure system. The goal of this work is to experimentally confirm the proposed thermodynamic gains of ultra-high pressure electrolysis in alkaline solution and characterize the behavior of a real life high pressure system.
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