What are electrolysers, and how do they work?

There’s evidence that manmade global warming is having an impact on the global climate. From 2011 to 2020, weather-related losses increased by almost 50% compared to the previous decade to $2.5 Trillion. The world has accepted that manmade global warming needs to be limited to prevent catastrophic damage to our planet and humanity occurring. Therefore, reducing or eliminating global warming gases that are emitted into the Earth’s atmosphere, such as Co2 and Methane, is required.

Hydrogen energy is not only a solution that can positively impact the future of our planet but also fits perfectly into a green economy and the green jobs and industries within it. A sustainable solution allows us to have just that: a solution, something the world can use to create power and drive awareness around the importance of green energy and its uses.

Hydrogen energy is produced through systems called ‘Electrolysers’; an electrolyser is a system that uses electricity to break water into Hydrogen Gas and oxygen. The hydrogen produced is an energy source that can power Hydrogen fuel cell applications within trains, and buses, be used in internal combustion engines (ICE) and have zero carbon eFuels. The oxygen produced from the process can be used in other products, such as steel, used by hospitals, microelectronics and other industries.

Producing hydrogen through electrolysers creates a significant effect when compared to alternatives that negatively impact our environment and pollute our atmosphere. Various types of electrolysers, such as Alkaline or Proton Exchange (PEM), help execute the energy process; they differ depending on how they have to be scaled to meet a variety of input and output ranges. The range of size and function of electrolysers are produced to suit various circumstances, from small industrial plants to production factories that deliver hydrogen on a larger scale.

The form of power, Hydrogen Gas that is produced from the process within electrolysers, is a highly sustainable source of energy. While they’re not the cheapest form of energy now, their sustainability and the hopeful prospect of it costing less in years to come is worth the interest and investment; hydrogen energy is a realistic way to generate green energy. An additional benefit of using electrolysers to generate hydrogen is that it allows countries to become energy independent and, therefore, cannot be held for ransom. Energy prices should thus become decoupled from the price of oil and gas.

We will hopefully see the use of electrolysers and hydrogen energy more frequently as the years progress. Fuel costs are the most significant cost component, as this is often a result of technical and economic factors.

Electrolysers, a central component in producing hydrogen ‘clean’ energy, play a role to some degree in the execution of ‘green jobs’ within ‘green industries’. Green jobs are ‘jobs that have a direct, positive impact on the planet and traditionally involve renewable energy, electric transport, energy efficiency, or nature conservation. But right now, as more sectors transition to low-carbon models, every job has the potential to become ‘green’. (The Guardian, 2020.). Green industries, as a whole, are economic activities that exist and hope to minimise the environmental impact. Green industries include Manufacturing, Transport, Energy, Construction, Farming, Finance, and many more.

While not everyone may have heard of electrolysers and the hydrogen energy they produce, the hope of their positive impact on the environment and relevant industries are strong as awareness continues to develop.

If you’re a Hydrogen Engineer or of a similar discipline and are interested in the number of Hydrogen roles we have available, please don’t hesitate to visit our jobs board Jobs – Zenith People or give us a ring on 0191 428 6444.