Take 5: An interview with… Matthew Fairlie, President of Next Hydrogen

Thanks for giving H2 View your time. Tell us a little about Next hydrogen and its origins…

Next Hydrogen was founded on the marriage of technology with market defined product requirements. The market requirements were defined by two wind energy entrepreneurs, David Thompson and Philipp Andres, and the technology solution was developed by two experts in electrolysis Dr. Jim Hinatsu and Dr. Michael Stemp. From the beginning, the goal was the development of large-scale green hydrogen infrastructure deploying water electrolysis.

Tell us about Next Hydrogen’s significant advance in alkaline electrolyser cell design…
Next Hydrogen’s technology team tackled green hydrogen operating requirements by developing a radically different cell architecture to other electrolysers. Next Hydrogen’s cell design, using gas-lift circulation (no pumps), internalises gas-liquid separation and gas-liquid cooling within the cell electrolyte circulation loop, in effect bringing these functions to a cell level.
This gives enhanced performance in terms of process dynamic response and operating range, achieving a ramp rate of 5% per second and an operating range of up to 1 amp/cm2 current density. Furthermore, the module is segmented in sub-assemblies of cells where control, diagnostics and maintenance can be performed on a segment basis. Because of the high current density and because no electrolyte leaves the module, we can pack a 450Nm3/h module in a single container. We believe we can bring similar improvements to PEM electrolysers.

So these electrolysers allow for increased clean hydrogen production and reduced costs?
The cost of hydrogen is reduced in a number of ways. Our containerised format reduces permitting and erection costs. The module is pressurised (10 barg), reducing downstream compression and drying costs. The wide operating range allows plant capacity to be optimised to meet the renewable resource in a much more cost-effective way. Because of the flexibility of fast turn-up and turn-down, we can take advantage of time of use electricity rates.

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