Electrolysis is a proven process for the production of hydrogen. The electrolysis cell has two chambers. It consists of an anode (positively charged), cathode (negatively charged) and the ion conductor (electrolyte). The water is taken up in the cathode chamber and broken down into its basic components hydrogen and oxygen in two partial reactions with the aid of electrical voltage. Hydrogen electrolysis requires energy, which is provided either chemically, electrically or thermally, or in a climate-neutral manner by using solar, hydro or wind energy. Depending on where the power for the splitting comes from, hydrogen is sorted by color.

In the field of electrolysis, there are various proven processes, such as alkaline electrolysis (AEL), polymer electrolyte membrane electrolysis (PEM), the novel anion exchange membrane electrolysis (AEM), which combines the advantages of AEL and PEM, as well as solid oxide or high temperature electrolysis (SOEC) and microbial electrolysis (MEC), in which bacteria decompose organic compounds and release hydrogen.

View into the pem electrolyzer

The colors of hydrogen

Depending on its production or extraction method, hydrogen is classified into different colors:

  • Black – black coal 
  • Brown – brown coal 
  • Grey – natural gas 
  • White – natural reservoirs
  • Blue – fossil energy sources + CCS
  • Red – cuclear energy 
  • Orange – bioenergy
  • Turquoise – methane pyrolysis
  • Green – renewable energy
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