Ceramics firm goes potty over new hydrogen tech

A new ceramic membrane technology could make hydrogen production for vehicle fuel much more practical and affordable. That’s the suggestion from ceramics manufacturer CoorsTek Membrane Sciences, which has successfully tested […]

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By Jonny Bairstow

A new ceramic membrane technology could make hydrogen production for vehicle fuel much more practical and affordable.

That’s the suggestion from ceramics manufacturer CoorsTek Membrane Sciences, which has successfully tested a way to generate compressed hydrogen from natural gas and electricity in a one-step process with almost no energy losses.

The firm says the membrane makes production of hydrogen so efficient it will make the gas the cleanest and least expensive option for future automotive fuelling, surpassing both electricity and petroleum.

Made from barium, zirconia and yttrium oxides, the solid ceramic electrolyte can transport hydrogen in the form of protons at temperatures up to 900°C.

By applying an electric potential over the ceramic cell, hydrogen is not only separated from other gases but also electrochemically compressed.

Per Vestre, Managing Director at CoorsTek Membrane Sciences, said: “Our breakthrough ceramic membrane technology makes it possible for hydrogen fuelled vehicles to have superior energy efficiency with lower greenhouse gas emissions compared to a battery electric vehicle charged with electricity from the grid.”