Tubular Solid Oxide Electrolysis

April 18th, 2024

R&D Focus Areas:

Lead Organisation:
Hadean Energy (CSIRO is project lead)



Start date:
July 2024 (start of Bluescope trial)

Completion date:
October 2024

Key contacts:
Sarb Giddey: Sarb.Giddey@csiro.au
Gurpreet Kaur: Gurpreet.Kaur@csiro.au

CSIRO – Science and Industry Endowment Fund

Project total cost:
AUD$3.8 million

Project summary description:
The most common types of electrolysers are alkaline, anion exchange membrane (AEM), proton exchange membrane (PEM) and solid oxide electrolysis (SOE).

Alkaline and AEM electrolysers use a liquid electrolyte, PEM electrolysers use a polymer electrolyte, and SOE electrolysers use a solid-state ceramic electrolyte.

SOE operates at temperatures close to 800oC, so part of the energy cost is heating up the water used for the hydrogen electrolysis reaction. Heavy industries often have waste heat or low-cost heat as part of their processes. By utilising this waste heat, SOE systems can require 30 per cent less electricity compared to PEM and alkaline electrolyser systems. This suggests SOE as the most efficient type of electrolysis for many industrial applications, especially where hydrogen can be used as a feedstock in the process itself.

The CSIRO has developed tubular solid oxide electrolysis (tSOE) technology made from ceramic tubes.

Steam runs inside the tubes, and when an electric current is applied, the steam splits into hydrogen and oxide ions. Ceramic membranes are oxide ion conductors and separate oxide ions (as oxygen) from hydrogen, under applied potentials. The resulting output is pure hydrogen.

The CSIRO will trial the technology at BlueScope’s Port Kembla Steelworks to demonstrate the equipment at pilot scale in an industrial environment.

The trial with BlueScope (at kilowatt-scale) will commence in July 2024 for a planned period of approximately four months. Integration aspects and other findings from the trial will help to demonstrate the technology at a higher scale and confirm the technical robustness of the equipment.

Related publications and key links:
New CSIRO company pursues hydrogen game changer for heavy industry – CSIRO
New hydrogen electrolyser tech can help to decarbonise industry – CSIRO
Tubular solid oxide electrolysis (tSOE) – CSIRO
CSIRO spins out new hydrogen tech that uses 30 pct less wind and solar | RenewEconomy

Higher degree studies supported:
Not applicable


April 2024