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Affiliation Paris-Sud University, Orsay, France.
Contact information pierre.millet@u-psud.fr
Presentation Title Industrial water electrolysis: state-of-art, limitations & perspectives.

Water dissociation by electrolysis is an old and mature process of the chemical industry. In the frame of the energy transition, it is considered as a cornerstone technology for the large scale production of molecular hydrogen and for energy storage. Modern water electrolysers use different cell design and components, and operate at quite different temperature and pressure, to produce this hydrogen. The most popular and advanced techniques found on the market are the so-called “alkaline”, “PEM” (Proton Exchange Membrane) and, to a lesser extent, “solid oxide” processes. Up to now, most water electrolysis plants have been operated at quasi-constant power, for the stationary production of hydrogen which is then used as chemical in various downstream processes. New applications (in particular those related to the energy-value of electrolytic hydrogen) are emerging, bringing new operational constraints and requiring customized designs. For example, the use of transient power sources such as photovoltaic panels or wind turbines, or the grid connection for grid balancing operation. Such applications require better process flexibility and reactivity: improvements are needed at system level to comply with new operating requirements.

The purpose of this communication is to provide an overview of the state of art in the field of water electrolysis, to discuss some specific limitations and to provide future development perspectives. The design and operational characteristics of main water electrolysis technologies are described. Different indicators are used to compare their performances at stack and balance-of-plant levels: (i) the specific energy consumption and efficiency; (ii) the coulombic efficiency; (iii) the ability to operate in flexible and reactive conditions in order to meet power grid requirements; (iv) some safety indicators related to H2/O2 cross-permeation; (v) the long-term durability of performances; (vi) the hydrogen cost (capex/opex analysis). Experimental results obtained on MW-scale systems are used to support the discussion.
P. Millet is an electrochemical engineer, Professor of material science and physical-chemistry at Paris-Sud University, France. He graduated in 1986 from the French “Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Electrochimie et d’Electrométallurgie de Grenoble” (ENSEEG) at the “Institut National Polytechnique de Grenoble” (INPG). He completed his PhD thesis on water electrolysis in 1989, at the French “Centre d’Etudes Nucléaires de Grenoble” (CEA-CENG). He is currently heading the “Laboratory of Research and Innovation in Electrochemistry for Energy applications” (https://www.icmmo.u-psud.fr/fr/equipes/eriee/), at the French “Institute of Molecular Chemistry and Material Science” (ICMMO, Paris-Sud University). His research activities focus on catalyst development for electrochemical and photo-electrochemical reactions of societal interest. In terms of applications (electrochemical engineering developments), his interest focuses mainly on water electrolysis, water photo-dissociation, carbon dioxide electro- and photo-reduction, hydrogen storage in hydride-forming materials, hydrogen compression and hydrogen permeation across metallic membranes.

4th International Hydrogen Technologies Congress / June 20-23, 2019 / Trakya University, Alanya, Turkey