STUDENT DETAILS

Henning Buitendach

Master in Engineering

Henning Buitendach holds a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from the North-West University (Potchefstroom campus). He is currently registered as a postgraduate student pursuing his Master’s degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the North-West University. He joined HySA Infrastructure as a postgraduate student in 2019. His researched is focused on the hypothesis that the efficiency of a PEM electrolysis system can be improved by applying a ripple wave, rather than the conventional steady DC, to the system.

Qualifications

B.Eng (Electrical), North-West University, Potchefstroom, 2017

Project

The effect of a ripple wave power supply on PEM electrolysis efficiency

Supervisor

Previous studies in the electrolysis industry indicated that various electrical characteristics of the power supplied to an electrolysis system effects the power consumption and gas production rate of the system. These characteristics includes the waveform, frequency, amplitude and DC off-set of the power supplied to the system. An inadequacy of these studies are research and experiments on PEM electrolysis systems since PEM electrolysis are still relatively new compared to other electrolysis technologies. The problem is thus that most of these studies were done only on alkaline electrolysis systems and the effects of these characteristics on a PEM electrolysis system are still indistinct. The hypothesis obtained from previous studies is that applying a specific and controlled ripple current may improve the efficiency of a PEM electrolysis system. Information on the effects that each of the mentioned characteristics, individually and combined in a ripple wave, have on PEM electrolysis efficiency are required to further improve this technology.

The aim of this study is to determine if the efficiency of a PEM electrolysis system can be improved by applying a controlled ripple current, rather than the conventional steady DC. The primary objective of the research is to define the effects that different electrical characteristics of a ripple wave power supply have on the efficiency of a PEM electrolysis system. The electrical characteristics investigated include the waveform, frequency, AC amplitude and DC offset of the applied ripple wave. Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS), polarisation curves (PC) and equivalent electrical circuit (EEC) models are some of the electrochemical characterisation and modelling techniques used to characterise and model PEM electrolyser cells for different power supply characteristics. The project thus includes PEM electrolyser characterisation, modelling, simulation and experimental tests for different applied ripple currents.

Supervisors: Prof. Rupert Gouws, Mr. Carel Minnaar