Researchers make hydrogen production breakthrough

27/02/2024
The research team from RGU's School of Engineering. Left to Right: Prof Nadimul Faisal, Dr Anil Prathuru, Vinooth Rajendran, Dr Victoria Kurushina and Prof Mamdud Hossain.

RESEARCHERS at Robert Gordon University (RGU) have designed a tubular cell that can withstand high temperatures which will help cut costs as well as moves toward greener forms of energy.

Led by RGU’s School of Engineering in collaboration with University of Surrey the team have developed a solution to aid the production of hydrogen by designing, fabricating, and testing electrodes used in solid oxide steam electrolysis (SOSE) for waste steam generated from nuclear power plants.

SOSE systems operate at between 600 °C to 900 °C temperature range and the associated cathode, electrolyte and anode layers were manufactured with thermal spray and dip coating techniques.

Advances in the design of the cell as well as the materials and arrangement were made in the laboratory during the project. All of this helped contribute to the performance of the system.

The research showed that the tubular electrolyser cell provides an improved performance, which means the design has a higher hydrogen production rate, compared to the existing cells.

More research is needed to develop improved manufacturing techniques to prevent cracking while the system is used at high temperatures. Another move forward for the team and the project would to be upscaling and life cycle assessment (LCA) before it becomes a commercial product.

Developing electrolyser cells with enhanced hydrogen production and their scalable manufacturing can play an important role in enabling not only eco-friendly development but also cost-effective, reliable, and sustainable opportunities.

The research was funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (METASIS, EP/W033178/1) with co-investigators Prof Qiong Cai and Dr Bahman Horri from the University of Surrey. Dr Victoria Kurushina (PDRF), Dr Ajith Kumar Soman (PDRF), and Vinooth Rajendran (RA) worked on various aspects of this project. 

Professor Nadimul Faisal (METASIS lead investigator), from the School of Engineering, said: “Developing electrolyser cells with enhanced hydrogen production and their scalable manufacturing can play an important role in enabling not only eco-friendly development but also cost-effective, reliable, and sustainable opportunities. This project has the potential to advance technology to produce green hydrogen and thus we will exploit the outcomes and commercialise the product.”

Professor Mamdud Hossain, from RGU’s School of Engineering, said: “This EPSRC funded project gave us an opportunity for building something from scratch through fundamental research. We have shown our technology works and provide a better performance compared to existing design. We are seeking further partners to take the technology near to market.”

Dr Anil Prathuru, Lecturer at the School of Engineering added: “Solid oxide electrolyser technology is set to play a key role in UK’s energy goals. Scalable manufacturing is a potential issue. This project gave us the opportunity to try some unique ideas towards enhancing the operational efficiency and demonstrate a highly scalable method of electrolyser manufacture.”

The Latest Stories

Adaptive Process Solutions delivers step change results for oil and gas produced water production
Funding falls back from record high in 2022/23, but still better than the wider venture market
Edinburgh Fintech relaunches synthetic data platform amid surging demand
Electric vehicle chargers across Highlands used as little as six times per year