Exploring hydrogen production for self-energy generation in electroremediation: A proof of concept

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Electrodialytic technologies are clean-up processes based on the application of a low-level electrical current to produce electrolysis reactions and the consequent electrochemically-induced transport of contaminants. These treatments inherently produce electrolytic hydrogen, an energy carrier, at the cathode compartment, in addition to other cathode reactions. However, exploring this by-product for self-energy generation in electroremediation has never been researched. In this work we present the study of hydrogen production during the electrodialytic treatment of three different environmental matrices (briny water, effluent and mine tailings), at two current intensities (50 and 100 mA). In all cases, hydrogen gas was produced with purities between 73% and 98%, decreasing the electrical costs of the electrodialytic treatment up to ≈7%. A proton-exchange membrane fuel cell was used to evaluate the possibility to generate electrical energy from the hydrogen production at the cathode, showing a stable output (~1 V) and demonstrating the proof of concept of the process.

Original languageEnglish
Article number113839
JournalApplied Energy
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019


  • Electrodialytic treatment
  • Energy savings
  • Hydrogen production
  • Proton-exchange membrane fuel cell


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