Verdagy ($117M to develop large-scale alkaline water electrolyzers for low-cost green hydrogen production)

Verdagy, an American cleantech company founded in 2021, develops and manufactures large-scale AWE (alkaline water electrolysis) electrolyzers based on its advanced electrode assemblies. An AWE electrolyzer takes an alkaline solution and electricity and turns them into hydrogen and oxygen. AWE technology is best for putting green hydrogen into use on a large scale. Verdagy's industry-leading solution reduces the amount of capital expenditures and energy needed to make industrial hydrogen. This gives the best levelized cost of hydrogen as production plants scale from megawatts to gigawatts.

Challenges: hydrogen fuel

Hydrogen fuel

Roughly 70 million tons of hydrogen have been produced annually for oil refining, ammonia and methanol production, and fuel in transportation. The majority of hydrogen is produced from fossil fuels via steam reforming of natural gas, partial oxidation of methane, and coal gasification, all of which emit large quantities of carbon dioxide (CO₂). Other eco-friendly methods of producing hydrogen include biomass gasification, methane pyrolysis, and electrolysis of water. Using electricity, electrolysis splits water into hydrogen and oxygen. All these methods and systems are, however, generally more expensive than those based on fossil fuels.

Alkaline water electrolysis

An alkaline water electrolysis (AWE) electrolyzer produces hydrogen and oxygen from an alkaline solution and electricity. It is a mature technology that has been used in industry for nearly a century to produce hydrogen. AWE technology is ideal for large-scale deployment of clean hydrogen.

Typically, commercial AWE electrolyzers operate at current densities of up to about 500 mA/cm². Despite the fact that a higher current density produces more hydrogen, the operation of electrolysis cells at higher current densities can pose significant challenges. Because the gas/liquid mixture has a lower specific heat, a lower density, and a lower thermal conductivity than the liquid electrolyte, the electrolyzer's heat removal efficiency decreases as the amount of gas produced at higher current densities increases. In addition, if a gas pocket masks a region of the electrode, local temperatures may rise rapidly. Local hot spots on the electrode thus damage the membrane (or separator).

Verdagy Technology

Verdagy has developed an electrode pan (anode and cathode pans) assembly that efficiently removes heat from the electrolyzer. The innovative electrode pan assembly makes it possible for large AWE electrolyzers to produce more hydrogen using fewer electrolysis cells. Verday’s technology reduces capital costs and makes the electrolysis system a viable source for producing hydrogen gas at low cost.

Verdagy electrolyzer

The diagram below depicts the anode or a cathode pan assembly. The electrode assembly comprises a pan, multiple ribs, a baffle plate, a manifold, an outlet tube, and a catalyst-coated electrode.

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