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KIER developed separator that reduced gas crossover for water electrolyzer

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IMAGE: Comparison of pore size distribution of separation membrane: KIER separation membrane (Z75 ~ Z85), Commercial membrane (Zirfon). view more 

Credit: Korea Institute of Energy Research (KIER)

Dr. Won-chul Cho of Hydrogen Research Department of the Korea Institute of Energy Research (President Jong-nam Kim) has developed a separator membrane that significantly reduces gas crossover while exhibiting high performance comparable to the commercial separator for alkaline water electrolyzer. The research has been published in the International Journal of Energy Research, the world’s leading authority on nuclear power energy.

Water electrolysis is a technology for producing hydrogen and oxygen using electrochemical reactions. The technology has been actively conducted worldwide to control the peak load and frequency of power systems due to rapid expansion of renewable energy sources.

The commercial porous separator exhibits a satisfactory performance of high bubble point and low ionic resistance but high gas crossover, resulting in a limited dynamic range of the electrolyzer.

The researchers succeeded in developing a separator membrane with a reduced average pore size of around 70 nm and high surface wettability, contributing to helping alkaline electrolyzer systems be operated in more controllable loads.

The development of a separator with suppressed gas crossover while maintaining low ohmic resistance is mainly attributed to the homogeneous distribution of the hydrophilic zirconia particles over the polymer matrix.

Senior Researcher Won-chul Cho at Korea Institute of Energy Research who is the main author of the paper said, “Membrane exhibits high performance and chemical stability and can be manufactured on a commercial scale. Therefore, it will soon be applicable to commercial electrolyzers.”

Hydrogen Research Department in Korea Institute of Energy Research is leading main R&D projects for alkaline and PEM electrolyzers in Korea.

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* International Journal of Energy Research: Nuclear Science & Technology, International paper ranking # 1 in the field (Published by Wiely, SCI IF 3.3)

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