Two new proton-exchange-membrane (PEM) electrolysis systems have debuted, targeting applications that require large volumes of hydrogen. Prior to the launch of Proton OnSite’s (Wallingford, Conn.; www. protononsite.com) M1 and M2 modular H2-generation systems, the largest capacity commercially available from PEM modules was just 30 m3/h H2, says the company. The M1 and M2 systems can produce 200 m3/h and 400 m3/h of H2, respectively, representing an intensive scaleup effort. Multiple units can be connected to achieve even greater production capabilities for huge-scale projects. In order to reach these higher capacities while ensuring safe operation, the M1 and M2 were designed with a specific emphasis on the differential pressure (DP) between the H2 and O2 sides of the membrane. Maintaining a DP of 30 bars across the membrane minimizes gas crossover problems, and also allows the system to produce a very high-quality H2 stream. Furthermore, this DP approach enables a simplified, low-pressure water-circulation loop that removes any hazards due to pressurized O2, and allows for a passive system shutdown.
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