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The Case for High-pressure PEM Water Electrolysis


Hydrogen compression is a key part of the green hydrogen supply chain, but mechanical compressors are prone to failure and add system complexity and cost. High-pressure water electrolysis can alleviate this problem through electrochemical compression of the gas internally in the electrolyzer and thereby eliminating the need for an external hydrogen compressor. In this work, a detailed techno-economic assessment of high-pressure proton exchange membrane-based water electrolysis (PEMEL) systems was carried out. Electrolyzers operating at 80, 200, 350, and 700 bar were compared to state-of-the-art systems operating at 30 bar in combination with a mechanical compressor. The results show that it is possible to achieve economically viable solutions with high-pressure PEMEL-systems operating up to 200 bar. These pressure levels fit well with the requirements in existing and future industrial applications, such as e-fuel production (30–120 bar), injection of hydrogen into natural gas grids (70 bar), hydrogen gas storage (≥200 bar), and ammonia production (200–300 bar). A sensitivity analysis also showed that if the cost of electricity is sufficiently low (

Funding source: The authors gratefully acknowledge support from MoZEES, a Norwegian Centre for Environment-friendly Energy Research (FME), cosponsored by the Research Council of Norway (project number 257653) and 37 partners from research, industry, and public sector.
Related subjects: Production & Supply Chain
Countries: Norway

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