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Strategic comparison of membrane-assisted and membrane-less water electrolyzers and their potential application in direct seawater splitting (DSS)

Malek, A; Lu, X; Shearing, PR; Brett, DJL; He, G; (2022) Strategic comparison of membrane-assisted and membrane-less water electrolyzers and their potential application in direct seawater splitting (DSS). Green Energy and Environment 10.1016/j.gee.2022.06.006. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Electrocatalytic splitting of water by means of renewable energy as the electricity supply is one of the most promising methods for storing green renewable energy as hydrogen. Although two-thirds of the earth's surface is covered with water, there is inadequacy of freshwater in most parts of the world. Hence, splitting seawater instead of freshwater could be a truly sustainable alternative. However, direct seawater splitting faces challenges because of the complex composition of seawater. The composition, and hence, the local chemistry of seawater may vary depending on its origin, and in most cases, tracking of the side reactions and standardizing and customizing the catalytic process will be an extra challenge. The corrosion of catalysts and competitive side reactions due to the presence of various inorganic and organic pollutants create challenges for developing stable electro-catalysts. Hence, seawater splitting generally involves a two-step process, i.e., purification of seawater using reverse osmosis and then subsequent fresh water splitting. However, this demands two separate chambers and larger space, and increases complexity of the reactor design. Recently, there have been efforts to directly split seawater without the reverse osmosis step. Herein, we represent the most recent innovative approaches to avoid the two-step process, and compare the potential application of membrane-assisted and membrane-less electrolyzers in direct seawater splitting (DSS). We particularly discuss the device engineering, and propose a novel electrolyzer design strategies for concentration gradient based membrane-less microfluidic electrolyzer.

Type: Article
Title: Strategic comparison of membrane-assisted and membrane-less water electrolyzers and their potential application in direct seawater splitting (DSS)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.gee.2022.06.006
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gee.2022.06.006
Language: English
Additional information: © 2022 Institute of Process Engineering, Chinese Academy of Sciences. Publishing services by Elsevier B.V. on behalf of KeAi Communications Co., Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: Electrocatalytic seawater splitting; Direct seawater splitting; Osmosis; Concentration cells; Membrane-less electrolyzer; Microfluidic electrolyzer
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Chemistry
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Chemical Engineering
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10152141
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