Hydrogen is set to be one of the main pillars on which the current energy transition will be based; hence, concepts such as decoupled water electrolyzers, fuel cells or hydrogen energy carriers will take on special prominence in the new year 2023. Today, in the blog, we review some of them.

Proton exchange membrane water electrolyzers

Proton exchange membrane (PEM) water electrolyzers are capable of sustainably producing high-purity hydrogen for both chemical and energy storage applications.

These types of electrolyzers have attracted much attention in recent decades due to their energy efficiency, compact design, high current density, fast response and the fact that they produce oxygen as the only by-product.

However, the most popular PEM electrolyzers for hydrogen production by electrolysis are based on precious metals (Pt, Ir, Ru) whose high cost has an impact on the final investment of the PEM electrolyzer. Hence, the latest research is directed towards the search for materials that can reduce the final cost of the technology and thus contribute to the popularization of this promising hydrogen production system.

Anion exchange membrane water electrolyzers

Anion exchange membrane water electrolyzers (AEMWE) are a sustainable, low-cost technology for green hydrogen production that combines the advantages of proton exchange membrane water electrolysis and traditional alkaline water electrolysis systems.

Unlike proton exchange membrane water electrolyzers, the AEMWE uses transition metal catalysts instead of precious metals; in addition, the membrane used in the AEM is less expensive and the titanium of the PEM can be replaced by stainless steel.

Thus, overall, anion exchange membrane water electrolyzers show greater potential as they can produce green hydrogen at a competitive price.

However, it is critical to understand the limiting factors associated with durability that restrict the long-term use of these devices, as the membranes used turn out not to be durable in industrial environments.

Hence, research in 2023 will focus on improving the long-term efficiency of the membranes of this technology.


Decoupled water electrolyzers

As we have already seen in our blog, decoupled water electrolyzers solve the limitations of conventional electrolyzers, such as the power density of the stack or the mixing of explosive gases, among others.

Because the electrolyzer cells are decoupled, the formation of hydrogen and oxygen are separated in time and space, thus avoiding gas mixing when the device is connected to renewable energy sources.

In addition, the efficiency of hydrogen production is improved with this system, since the rate of green hydrogen production will only depend on the oxidation rate of the redox mediator used, being independent of the rate of oxygen formation.

In 2023, research will focus on developing redox materials and improving cell design, making decoupled water electrolyzers the technology that will help mitigate the intermittency of renewable energy sources.

Hydrogen transporters  

In a recent blog article, we discussed hydrogen storage methods. Among them, in 2023, liquid organic hydrogen carriers (LOHC), which absorb and release H2 through chemical reactions, will be the talk of the town. An example of these are unsaturated compounds that allow hydrogen to be absorbed during hydrogenation. However, although there are a large number of viable alternatives, research is needed to improve their economic viability and safe handling.

Ammonia, also considered a hydrogen carrier, is very easy to produce and can be used in the production of fertilizers, refrigerants and other chemical industry products. A great alternative for large-scale hydrogen transport.

Hydrogen fuel cells

We have already seen above that hydrogen fuel cells are a great alternative to move from a hydrocarbon-based economy to a hydrogen-based economy in order to achieve a zero-emission future.

Fuel cells, similar to batteries, transform chemical energy into electrical energy, but unlike batteries, the fuel cell does not run down or require recharging because it operates through a continuous flow of reactants that supply current to an external circuit.

It is a highly efficient and emission-free device. However, the challenge for 2023 will be mass production and deployment to minimize its high cost and thus take advantage of its benefits to contribute to the energy transition.


If you want to know more about the latest developments in the hydrogen industry and those advances and research in progress, we invite you to follow us on Social Media and visit our website, where you will find all the news about one of the topics that will surely be protagonist again in this year 2023.

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