RGU researchers make hydrogen production breakthrough

Researchers at Robert Gordon University (RGU) have designed a tubular cell that can withstand high temperatures which will help cut costs as well as moves toward greener forms of energy.

Led by RGU’s School of Engineering in collaboration with University of Surrey the team have developed a solution to aid the production of hydrogen by designing, fabricating, and testing electrodes used in solid oxide steam electrolysis (SOSE) for waste steam generated from nuclear power plants.

SOSE systems operate at between 600 °C to 900 °C temperature range and the associated cathode, electrolyte and anode layers were manufactured with thermal spray and dip coating techniques.

Advances in the design of the cell as well as the materials and arrangement were made in the laboratory during the project. All of this helped contribute to the performance of the system.

The research showed that the tubular electrolyser cell provides an improved performance, which means the design has a higher hydrogen production rate, compared to the existing cells.

More research is needed to develop improved manufacturing techniques to prevent cracking while the system is used at high temperatures. Another move forward for the team and the project would to be upscaling and life cycle assessment (LCA) before it becomes a commercial product.

Developing electrolyser cells with enhanced hydrogen production and their scalable manufacturing can play an important role in enabling not only eco-friendly development but also cost-effective, reliable, and sustainable opportunities.