Hydrogen is an essential chemical, already today. However, hydrogen is quickly becoming even more important, as chemical companies, refiners, and new players around the world are looking to build attractive business cases for low-carbon fuels and chemicals. To achieve this, a crucial point is the ability to produce green hydrogen from electrolysis of water with no carbon emissions – at a competitive price point.
Green hydrogen is produced by electrolysis. This process uses electrical power to split water and produce hydrogen. In the case of green hydrogen, the electricity comes from renewable sources such as wind turbines, solar panels, or hydropower. The electrolysis process emits no carbon or harmful substances.
Less than 0.1% of the hydrogen produced today comes from water electrolysis. Now, as the availability of renewable electricity is increasing and the cost goes down, interest in green hydrogen is booming.
SOEC - the most efficient form of electrolysis today
Topsoe has chosen to focus on the most efficient electrolysis technology available today. Our high-temperature SOEC – solid oxide electrolyzer cell – deliver up to 30% more green hydrogen from the same amount of renewable electricity, compared to standard technologies like PEM and alkaline electrolysis. The superior efficiency stems from the fact that the SOEC works at temperatures above 700 degrees Celsius, which sets it apart from standard electrolysis technologies.
We deliver the SOEC electrolysis unit as a stand-alone unit with power and gas connections. Our modular design allows for flexibility in plant size. The facility is fully automated with a user-friendly interface.
Electrolysis of CO2 from carbon capture
Not only does the SOEC eliminate carbon emissions from the production of hydrogen, it can even electrolyze CO2 from carbon capture (CCUS) and further reduce emissions.
CO2 can be captured from waste incineration, power plants, cement plants and industrial facilities. When electrolyzed with the SOEC, CO2 is reduced to CO, also known as synthesis gas or syngas. Syngas is used to produce a variety of chemicals and fuels and is usually produced from natural gas. In other words; the SOEC makes it possible to replace fossil natural gas with captured CO2 and avoid releasing ‘new’ carbon into the atmosphere.
Benefits of Topsoe's SOEC electrolyzer
- 30% higher green hydrogen output compared to other electrolysis technologies
- Cost-competitive hydrogen production
- Easy integration with other industrial processes
- Production on-site and on-demand
- Multiple sizes and purity options
- High load flexibility
- Flexible production capacity
How does SOEC work?
The SOEC or solid oxide electrolyzer cell is a ceramic cell that uses electricity to split water molecules (H2O) into hydrogen (H2) and oxygen (O2). It basically consists of three parts: an anode, a cathode and an electrolyte. At the cathode, water molecules are split by a reduction reaction into hydrogen and oxide ions, the oxide ions are transported through the electrolyte to the anode where they are oxidized into oxygen.
The SOEC works at temperatures above 700 degrees Celsius, which makes it significantly more efficient than standard electrolysis systems. CO2 can also be electrolyzed in the SOEC. In this process, the CO2 is reduced to CO with O2 as a byproduct.
The SOEC is mainly built of abundant and low-cost ceramic materials in a metal housing. No rare metals or conflict minerals are used.