North-West University
Overview of innovation

This technology involves a method for generating hydrogen in an electrolysis cell. A proton exchange membrane (PEM) is used to separate anode and cathode chambers of the cell. The space between the anode and the PEM is filled with aqueous sulfuric acid. In use, gaseous sulphur dioxide is fed to the side of the anode facing away from the sulfuric acid solution, and a current is supplied to the electrolysis cell. Consequently, sulphur dioxide is oxidized at the anode, and molecular hydrogen is generated at the cathode. On this case sulphur dioxide-depolarized electrolysis (SDE) principle is used. 

Technology Benefits

  • Large-scale production of hydrogen.
  • Coupling hydrogen production with the heat generated by nuclear reactors.
  • Use of thermal energy from a nuclear reaction to store energy in the form of molecular hydrogen. 
  • Sulphur dioxide-depolarized electrolyzer (SDE) has the potential to reduce the amount of electrical power required for hydrogen production.
Type of Intellectual Property protection
Innovation Opportunity Type
​Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply
Renewable Energy
Clean Technologies
Technology Readiness Level
TRL 3 – Proof of concept created