Page 35 - European Energy Innovation - Summer 2017 publication
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Summer 2017 European Energy Innovation  35


ELECTRA: Steam + el = H2

The ELECTRA project1 of the FCH JU – taking proton               built, and tested. The balance of plant and techno-
            ceramic electrolysers (PCEs) from button-cell to     economics of the integration of PCEs with various sources of
            pressurised tubular stack level – is concluding in   electricity and heat or steam have been modelled. Mass-
            2017. ELECTRA has developed PCEs based on            produced PCEs may be inexpensive and will, with available
proton conducting barium zirconate as electrolyte. Like          heat or steam, produce hydrogen competitive to e.g.
solid-oxide electrolysers (SOEs) they utilise available heat or  alkaline electrolysis.
steam from waste or renewable geothermal or solarthermal
sources to increase the electrical efficiency. PCEs operate at   The project has also tested and modelled co-electrolysis
intermediately high temperatures – up to 700°C – and unlike      of CO2 and steam. In so-called co-ionic mode using both
SOEs they produce directly dry pressurised hydrogen and          proton and oxide ion conduction, it produces syngas at a
oxygen diluted with steam. Hence the hydrogen is produced        CO:H2 ratio of 1:2, variable by varying the materials and
at the total pressure of the unit in a simpler, more efficient,  conditions.
and safer process than competing electrolysers.
                                                                 Prof. Truls Norby at University of Oslo (UiO) has led a
The project and its partners have developed materials            team consisting of institutes SINTEF (NO) and ITQ/CSIC
and procedures for production of segmented tubular               (ES), SMEs Carbon Recycling International (IS) and Marion
cells, involving extrusion, co-sintering and novel sealing       Technology (FR), and industries Abengoa Hidrógeno (ES)
technologies. Novel oxygen+steam-side electrode materials        and CoorsTek Membrane Sciences (NO). The project has
with good electrocatalytic properties and stability in           run from 2014 to 2017. Partners are now pursuing PCE
steam have been applied on tubular segments to yield             technology of multi-module units of 10 kW and above
unprecedented currents and hydrogen fluxes in PCEs.              to deliver hydrogen at 30-50 bar – serving industries
A multi-tubular high pressure module with capability to          with competitive hydrogen where heat/steam and peak/
monitor and replace individual tubes has been designed,          renewable electricity are available. l

1) High temperature electrolyser with novel proton ceramic tubular modules of superior efficiency, robustness, and lifetime economy, FCH JU Grant agreement
621244, 2014-2017.

Coordinator Prof. Truls Norby to the right, with some of the project team members during the final meeting at ITQ/CSIC in
Valencia, May 2017, around the ELECTRA 18-tube 1 kW 20 bar proton ceramic electrolyser.
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