Hydrogen is the leading energy carrier of the future and can be used to store energy surpluses from offshore wind farms. The INTENSSE-H2 project investigates the possibility of producing hydrogen from seawater according to an innovative concept integrating water treatment and electrolysis.
Nov 2021 - Oct 2022
DBC project, National project

To produce hydrogen by means of the current generation of alkaline electrolysis installations, we need fresh water, energy and high pressure. Since the competition for fresh water will intensify in the future due to water scarcity, seawater is an interesting source material for electrolysis.

The INTENSSE-H2 project presents a concept of integrated water supply and electrolysis. Instead of treating seawater with a desalination process such as reverse osmosis, the electrolyte can be used as a solution to draw the seawater directly into the electrolysis cell through a semi-permeable membrane (on the basis of the difference in osmolarity).

This concept requires the integration of a new type of polymeric membrane for forward osmose in the electrochemical system. Before developing a proof of concept that could lead to further industrial development, Agfa-Gevaert, Euraqua (Pollet Water Group), and the Flemish Institute for Technological Research (VITO) will investigate the feasibility of such an innovation process.

The key challenges are:

  • The availability of commercial alkaline-resistant, selective and sufficiently permeable membranes for the desired application.
  • The effectiveness of the H2 production process on an offshore location aboard a moving platform subject to waves, wind and currents.
  • The identification of a viable value chain in Flanders or Europe.
  • Screening of currently available membranes with respect to performance to achieve an economically feasible result.
  • The projected footprint of the installation and the offshore platform.

In case the INTENSSE-H2 concept appears to be feasible, it will deliver multiple benefits for hydrogen production:

  1. Lower investment and operational costs in comparison with state-of-the-art water supply;
  2. Avoidance of water pressure (energy conservation);
  3. Smaller spatial footprint; and
  4. Greater compatibility for (flexible) use in offshore applications.

Partners: Agfa-Gevaert, MULTI.Engineering, Euraqua-Europe (Pollet Water Group) and VITO

With the support of: VLAIO (Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship)

Contact: Stefaan Mensaert

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