The Water Challenge: About Green Hydrogen's Need of The Hour
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Themes and Topics

  • Australia's hydrogen industry
  • Desalination
  • Energy and water sector collaboration
  • Green hydrogen production
  • Treated wastewater
  • Water sourcing for hydrogen
  • Water-intensive electrolysis
  • Immense water resources needed for a fully-fledged transition to green hydrogen; water scarcity, need for extensive treatment poses threat.

    Here’s an article posted in AECOM.

    According to the post,

    Top management consulting experts for Bio-energy, EV, Solar, Green Hydrogen

    • Green hydrogen production requires significant water resources.
    • Strategies such as desalination and treated wastewater can be implemented to meet the water demand.
    • Additional investment and energy consumption are needed for water processing.

    The production of green hydrogen through water electrolysis has very specific water quality requirements that must be met to ensure the efficient and reliable operation of the electrolysis equipment.

    Alkaline Electrolysis

    Alkaline electrolysis, one of the main commercial technologies for green hydrogen production, requires highly purified, demineralized water as the feedstock. The ideal water for alkaline electrolysis should have the following characteristics:

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    • Conductivity: Less than 1 microsiemens per centimeter (μS/cm)
    • Total Dissolved Solids (TDS): Less than 0.1 parts per million (ppm)
    • pH: Neutral, between 6.5 – 7.5
    • Hardness: Less than 0.1 ppm
    • Silica: Less than 0.1 ppm
    • Chlorides: Less than 0.1 ppm
    • Sulfates: Less than 0.1 ppm

    Any impurities or minerals present in the water can degrade the performance and efficiency of the alkaline electrolyzer cells, reducing their output and lifespan.

    Polymer Electrolyte Membrane (PEM) Electrolysis

    PEM electrolysis has even stricter water quality requirements compared to alkaline electrolysis. The water used in PEM electrolysis must be of extremely high purity, with the following specifications:

    • Conductivity: Less than 0.1 μS/cm
    • Total Organic Carbon (TOC): Less than 50 parts per billion (ppb)
    • Silica: Less than 10 ppb
    • Cations (Na+, K+, Ca2+, Mg2+): Less than 1 ppb each
    • Anions (Cl-, SO4 2-, NO3-): Less than 1 ppb each
    • pH: Neutral, between 5.0 – 8.0

    The PEM electrolysis process is more sensitive to impurities than alkaline electrolysis, and even trace amounts of contaminants can significantly degrade the performance and lifespan of the PEM membranes and catalysts.

    In summary, the water quality requirements for green hydrogen production via electrolysis are extremely stringent, with PEM electrolysis having the most demanding specifications. Maintaining the necessary water purity is essential for ensuring the efficient, reliable, and sustainable operation of the electrolysis equipment.

    Interestingly, we have some other posts related to this content:

    Green Hydrogen Production: Water Needs and Availability Concerns: Mongabay article highlights concerns about water requirements for green hydrogen production, emphasizing efficient process management despite lower consumption than fossil fuel-based methods.

    About Narasimhan Santhanam (Narsi)

    Narsi, a Director at EAI, Co-founded one of India's first climate tech consulting firm in 2008.

    Since then, he has assisted over 250 Indian and International firms, across many climate tech domain Solar, Bio-energy, Green hydrogen, E-Mobility, Green Chemicals.

    Narsi works closely with senior and top management corporates and helps then devise strategy and go-to-market plans to benefit from the fast growing Indian Climate tech market.


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