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Hydrogen diffusivity and electrolyte permeability of the Zirfon PERL separator for alkaline water electrolysis

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Schalenbach,  Maximilian
Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH, Institute of Energy and Climate Research, IEK-3: Electrochemical Process Engineering, Jülich, Germany;
Electrocatalysis, Interface Chemistry and Surface Engineering, Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung GmbH, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Schalenbach, M., Lüke, W., & Stolten, D. (2016). Hydrogen diffusivity and electrolyte permeability of the Zirfon PERL separator for alkaline water electrolysis. Journal of the Electrochemical Society, 163(14), F1480-F1488. doi:10.1149/2.1251613jes.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0002-19CA-F
Abstract
The hydrogen and oxygen evolved during alkaline water electrolysis with liquid KOH electrolytes are typically separated using porous separators such as Zirfon PERL (Agfa), a commercially available composite of zirconium oxide and polysulfone. In this study, the hydrogen diffusivity (driven by concentration differences) and electrolyte permeability (driven by differential pressures) of the Zirfon PERL separator were characterized as a function of the temperature and molarity of the KOH filling. The diffusivity of hydrogen in the separator was found to be approximately 16 of that of the electrolyte filling inside its pores. With respect to water electrolysis conditions, the extent of hydrogen cross-permeation caused by the convection of the cross-permeating electrolyte was estimated and compared to that caused by diffusion. On the basis of the physically characterized mechanisms, smaller pores were predicted to reduce the differential pressure driven gas cross-permeation. © The Author(s) 2016. Published by ECS. All rights reserved.