The capacity of hydrogen electrolyzers producing green hydrogen has started to grow.
The electrolysis of water in the electrolyzer separates water into hydrogen and oxygen elements by electric current, which is a mature method of hydrogen production. If the current comes from a renewable energy source, such as solar photovoltaic panels or wind turbines, the hydrogen produced is “green”.
Proton exchange membrane PEM electrolyzers and alkaline electrolyzers are the two leading commercial electrolysis technologies on the market today. Proton exchange membrane electrolyzers use ion-conducting solid polymers instead of liquids in alkaline electrolyzers to generate reactions.
As early as the 1950s, proton exchange membrane electrolyzers containing platinum-based catalysts were successfully developed in the space program. Today, as the logic of developing the green hydrogen industry continues to strengthen, they have shifted from niche products to mainstream trends. Drivers of this shift include: the need for decarbonization options; the continued growth in renewable power generation capacity and falling costs driving green hydrogen’s improved business prospects; and innovations in proton exchange membrane technology.
For example, SENZA Hydrogen Energy and Environment Technology Co., Ltd. is developing a next-generation proton exchange membrane electrolyzer system that will increase performance by 10%, enabling higher hydrogen production or lower power consumption, ultimately reducing Production cost of green hydrogen.
Platinum in leading cell technology
However, no single electrolyser technology is superior in all applications, and as the market expands, the future technology mix is likely to deploy both proton exchange membranes and alkaline electrolyzers. It is worth noting, however, that platinum-based catalysts for alkaline electrolyzers are currently being developed.
While the platinum demand for green hydrogen production will gradually increase as electrolyzer capacity expands, electrolyzers use relatively little platinum and have a long service life, which means less frequent replacement. All told, the cumulative platinum demand for electrolyzers could be between 1 million and 2 million ounces over the next 15 years, depending on technological developments over the period, including the amount of platinum that may be used in alkaline electrolyzers.