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Comment Sustainability

‘Symbiotic’ electrolyzer runs on waste heat

By Mary Page Bailey |

A new steam-fed electrolyzer aims to bridge the gap between liquid-water electrolyzers, many of which require exotic materials and intricate membranes, and solid-oxide electrolyzers, which require superheated steam and temperatures as high as 800°C. This ‘symbiotic’ electrolyzer, developed by Advanced Ionics (Milwaukee, Wis.; www.advanced-ionics.com), is designed for operation at intermediate temperatures, so it can utilize onsite process and waste heat at temperatures of 100°C and up. “We don’t think there has been another electrolyzer specifically developed to operate at typical industrial heat temperatures, which enables close synergy with industrial processes that use H2,” says Chad Mason, CEO and founder of Advanced Ionics. The ability to operate with steam and tap into existing process heat can reduce the electricity expenditure to as low as 30–35 kWh per kg of H2, whereas other electrolyzer configurations typically require 40–50 kWh/kg. The efficiency gains from using existing process heat means that the electrolyzers are suitable for installation both within existing plants and for greenfield construction. “We know there are sites that do not want to wholesale switch out their steam methane reformer, but they…
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