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FP6

HI2H2 — Result In Brief

Project ID: 503765
Funded under: FP6-SUSTDEV
Country: Germany

Better ways of splitting water to get hydrogen

Using hydrogen as an energy source could reduce our dependence on ever-diminishing fossil fuels as well as benefit the environment. An EU-funded initiative has developed innovative technology for production of pure hydrogen from electrolysis of water, with important implications for European competitiveness in the global hydrogen market.
Better ways of splitting water to get hydrogen
The majority of the world’s hydrogen is produced by steam reformation of natural gas, a process with inherent additional costs to manufacturers, consumers and the environment alike. The process produces carbon monoxide that pollutes the hydrogen product of interest, requiring costly purification if it is to be used in fuel cells. In addition, it is carried out at large chemical plants making transportation and shipping to customers necessary.

Hydrogen production by water electrolysis (splitting of water molecules composed of hydrogen and oxygen with electricity) has gained widespread support and research interest for compact, cost-effective on-site or onboard hydrogen production for powering vehicles and industrial devices.

The 'Highly efficient, high temperature, hydrogen production by water electrolysis' (HI2H2) project was initiated to implement planar solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) technology in the development of a planar solid oxide electrochemical converter (SOEC) for electrolysing water to produce hydrogen. The investigators developed improved electrode anode and cathode materials as well as enhanced metal coatings for metal supported fuel cells based on SOFCs. Electrolysis tests using the developed SOEC cells yielded promising results, with optimal performance compared to alternative technologies under similar operating conditions.

In summary, the HI2H2 project produced an innovative SOEC capable of electrolysing water to produce hydrogen, with performance exceeding that of alternative methods. Commercialisation of the SOEC should enhance European competitiveness in the ever-growing global market for hydrogen.

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