In the electrochemical process for the production of chlorine and caustic soda, energy savings plays the main role. The same applies to chlorate production and possibly other electrochemical processes.
Hydrogen generated during the electrolysis process can be used by fuel cells for the production of clean electricity with water and heat as products, thus enabling energy savings up to 20% of the energy used for the electrolysis process itself.
A fuel cell is a static device for converting directly the chemical energy of hydrogen and oxygen present in the air into direct current electricity, water and heat. In practical terms, a fuel cell reverses the process of electrolysis in which the electric current breaks down water into its constituent oxygen and hydrogen gases.
The DC power generated by the fuel cells can be used directly in the electrolysis process, to decrease the power consumption or to boost plant capacity, or converted to AC and sent to the grid.
Experience: in June 2006 UHDENORA, Nuvera Fuel Cells (US) and Caffaro (Italy) announced the successful start up of the 125 kW PEM fuel cell system fully integrated into Caffaro's chlorate production plant in Brescia (Italy). This represents one of the world’s first successful installation of fuel cells in an electrochemical plant: installation and maintenance was done with no interference with chlorate production, while all the electricity produced was used to reduce the electrolysis power consumption by direct electrical connection to the bus bars of electrolyzers. As fuel cell system integrator, UHDENORA is today designing the MW size fuel cell system with the objective of first installations on electrochemical plants where the technology costs are in line with industry expectations.
Contact person for information about fuel cells in UHDENORA: