Experimental investigation of anion exchange membrane water electrolysis for a tubular microbial electrosynthesis cell design

VITO has published a recent paper where describes the development of a tubular water electrolysis cell which can be used for in situ hydrogen production in a microbial electrosynthesis system, even under pressurized conditions. The research paper based on this work is just published in Catalysis Communications with contributions from Zhiyuan ChenDiane Van HoutvenAsier Grijalvo RodriguezPello Nuñez and Jan Vaes. The paper is #openaccess

Tubular water splitting electrolyzer was adapted to neutral pH conditions for the in-situ H2 supplying microbial electrosynthesis design. The electrolyzer was optimized to reduce ohmic losses and provide adequate gas separation. Direct membrane deposition was applied on a thin anionic exchange membrane for the membrane-electrode-assembly fabrication. Although the membrane resistance increased with the increasing membrane thickness from 55 to 165 μm, the contact resistance was reduced by applying stronger compression pressure on the membrane-electrode interface. A durability test was run for 120 h, showing a voltage increase of 134 μV/h. Moreover, the hydrogen permeability coefficient was determined at 10−14 mol/(mˑsˑPa).


• A tubular water electrolysis cell was developed for a microbial electrosynthesis system with low ohmic resistance.

• The cell voltage improved to be 3.0 V at 0.1 A/cm2 in demineralized water at room temperature.

• Hydrogen permeability of the cell is controlled at 10−14 mol/(mˑsˑPa).

• The ohmic resistance of the cell has been reduced by mainly lower the contact resistance rather than membrane resistance.

Source: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1566736722001078