Jordan A. Davis

As engineers start to think about the design and prototype for hydrogen production components, the starting point is not always immediately clear. When it comes to generating hydrogen through electrolysis, you have a few options depending on your specific application.  

You’re getting ready to invest a lot of money into scaling your production up. We want to make sure you have all the relevant information to make the best decision so you don’t make the wrong choice.   

What does the “right” decision mean? While there are a few different ways to accomplish this from an engineering perspective, there are far fewer options that will allow you to scale your production up quickly and profitably. 

We are committed to helping you make the best decision on an initial design that will lead the strongest strategy to then scale that application up in an efficient and effective way.  

green-hydrogen-electrolyzer

Evaluating Your Options 

While a few different options can work for you, there are key differences to take note of that will help determine which option is going to allow you to scale up your production profitably.  

In this post we will explore two primary questions:  

“What are the important differences between my options?”  
 
“Which option is going to allow our company to optimize for our goals?” 

Option 1: SCR Thyristor-based Rectifier  

This is the rectifier that started it all for Dynapower. It’s our trusted technology and has been implemented numerous times throughout our history.   

thyristor

If you have low voltage requirements, under 700-900, this is a great option for your application. 

Since this unit is used for applications below 900 volts, the power supply doesn’t have to be very “refined” in order to make the system function properly.  

What is “refined power?” Refined = low harmonics, cleaner, low ripple. A good analogy might be water: refined power would be drinkable water, compared to dirty water not fit for drinking. 

Refined power is required with higher voltage applications that connect with the grid.  

This application is best when you’re not connecting to the grid, but if you wanted to do so with this model, connecting to the grid would require more components like a harmonic filter and a ripple filter.  

So, who is this solution for? This rectifier is optimal for those who want to produce hydrogen without needing to be connected to the grid or having access to refined power.  

Option 2: IGBT Chopper  

While this application is technically complex, Dynapower has mastered the right development and use for specific buyers.  

Very few companies have the capabilities to build these at all. Dynapower is actually just one of three companies with the ability to deliver this solution.  

The advantage you gain with the IGBT chopper is that it can be utilized with a wide range of volts: 0 – whatever you’d like. There is a lot of flexibility with the electrolyzer, and if they’re properly maintained, you won’t experience fluctuations or a degradation in its performance.  

chopper-rectifier

The true strength of the IGBT application is its grid interactivity. If you know that you need refined power that connects to the grid, it’s more cost effective than outfitting your SCR application with additional components to refine that power. The chopper is ready to go at the start, no additional modifications required.   

The IGBT also carries a high durability and reliability rating. Many of our applications are being used in mines with incredibly high heat, dust, and all around awful conditions. These rectifiers stand the test of even the worst conditions while still producing stable, consistent, high-quality power.  

Compare this to the SCR application: it has to go through filters, so while it’s sturdy, if one component goes down, the whole system will go down. And although it’s easy to replace, this will take time, effort, and money to get it back online. 

The IGBT, on the other hand, is modular. If one aspect fails, the system can still operate. Yes, it’ll operate at a slower pace until the parts are replaced or repaired, but you experience much less of an interruption. To produce refined power this system does consist of more parts, but it’s a lot more reliable and will operate with some level of functionality even if a component goes down.  

Option 3: Inverter & DC/DC Converter Solutions  

energy-storage-inverters

This solution is for specific, high-power requirements. As an inverter it is a different solution compared to that of a rectifier solution. Here’s how:  

While inverters don’t carry as much flexibility or customizable options as rectifiers, not many solutions can operate over 900 volts. Inverters operate on a high voltage range of 900-1500, and are a good fit for a variety of industries requiring high-power applications, especially wind and solar. 

Inverters are not a new design, so that means it’s ready sooner than many rectifiers would be, ‘off the shelf,’ so to speak, and they are less expensive than newer rectifier models.  

Which model is right for your application? 

Dynapower is unique in that we provide all three of the above solutions based on your equipment requirements and your expectations of power production.   

hydrogen-production

Some of you may be looking for one solution, while others may have applications for all three.  

Below is a summary of the ideal user traits for each type of solution to help you determine which route to take:  

SCR 

  • Low voltage, non-grid, dirty power 
  • Closed loop system for self-generating assets 
  • This could be a solution for wind and solar applications 
  • Powered by hydrogen itself, can store hydrogen onsite for a period of time to be transported somewhere else  

Chopper 

  • Flexible voltage parameters ranging from low to high voltage 
  • All necessary components included in this model for clean hydrogen production  
  • Used with clean power production, grid-connected activity  

Inverter: 

  • Specific high voltage applications 
  • More cost effective and available faster than customized rectifiers 
  • Less flexible but one of the few high power application models available  
  • A good fit for renewables  

Determining the right design path for your application is what will allow your company to rapidly scale their clean hydrogen energy production up fast, profitably, without jeopardizing their quality.  

Without the right initial design, it will become difficult to initially configure this equipment for your specific needs, and impossible to scale-up profitably.  

Dynapower’s unique point of difference for you is that we provide the flexibility of all of these options based on your varying needs. We also partner with you for the entire lifecycle of the equipment, from proper spec equipment design and optimization, installation and monitoring, and maintenance and support.