Can salt water help produce green hydrogen?

Splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen presents an alternative to fossil fuels, but purified water is a precious resource. With the price of renewable electricity on the decline, to produce green hydrogen is becoming an increasingly viable option.

produce green hydrogen

Green hydrogen is a sustainable energy carrier, which can be produced directly by water electrolysis, potentially substituting fossil fuels to attain carbon neutrality. Renewable energy is used to produce hydrogen from water. Hence its production is free from greenhouse gases and carbon capture technology.

Electrolyzers that produce green hydrogen typically depend on pure water, despite the fact that the most abundant form of H2O is seawater.

With the amount of seawater available, research is being done to check the possibility of developing H2.

Stanford researcher Hongjie Dai and his team aimed to find a technique to keep ocean water from corroding the submerged anodes due to its high salt content. They discovered coating the anode with rich layers of negative charges reduces the breakdown of the underlying metal.

green ammonia

Among the most important struggles resulting from using seawater in electrolysis is that it corrodes electrodes faster than ultra-pure water.  The sodium chloride and organic salts dissolved in ocean water corrode catalytic electrodes, shortening their useful life.

Several advances have been made to help overcome many of the top challenges to the production of renewable H2.  Among them include:

  • Developing coatings for electrodes that will allow them to remain effective while protecting them against the corrosion of being submerged in salty water.
  • Using a semi-permeable membrane for salt water electrolysis.
  • Using novel forms of platinum catalysts for ion recombination while floating on the water’s surface to reduce corrosion.
  • Using forward osmosis.
produce green hydrogen

Future of Salt Water Green Hydrogen Production

Seawater is a naturally abundant resource, therefore, producing green hydrogen from it via electrolysis can help to some extent with the world’s current energy crisis. However, corrosion of electrodes from salt waters hampers the mass production of green hydrogen.

In the meantime, several researches and studies are being done to find a way to accomplish this procedure. We will keep an eye on this innovative solution.

Universal Kraft works in the implementation of green efficient solutions covering the entire power production chain, and intends to be a part of the change. We have been working with green hydrogen production for several years through our partner company Universal H2.

We believe hydrogen could solve some of the energy transition’s biggest hurdles: storage, clean energy distribution, industry usage and heavy transport. Discover more about our solutions here.

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