Why is Electrolysis Not Efficient?

  • #1
Is energy lost to heat?...or is lost to the oxygen?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Borek
Mentor
28,600
3,078
Define "efficient". In what context do you ask?
 
  • #3
In the context of producing hydrogen for fuel cells.
 
  • #4
russ_watters
Mentor
20,127
6,644
According to the wiki on the subject, electrolysis can be between 50% and 80% efficient. 80% seems pretty decent to me.

Just to head off a possible area of misunderstanding: you do understand that 100% efficiency just means it requires exactly as much energy to split the hydrogen and oxygen as you get back by buring it, right? You can't ever split it without at least putting that much energy into it. This is just conservation of energy in a chemical process: the equation is (note it can go in either direction):

H2O + Energy <=> H2 + (1/2)O2
 
  • #5
GCT
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
1,728
0
Is energy lost to heat?...or is lost to the oxygen?
Apparently by heat and within the process used to generate the electricity , accounting for both processes yields an efficiency of < 50 % at times.

The rate of stirring as it pertains to junction potentials , the efficiency of the machine itself , area of the electrode , other reaction processes that take up the charge were all problems when I was conducting electrochemical experiments for undergrad.
 

Related Threads on Why is Electrolysis Not Efficient?

  • Last Post
Replies
3
Views
1K
  • Last Post
Replies
1
Views
4K
  • Last Post
Replies
6
Views
6K
  • Last Post
Replies
2
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
6
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
2
Views
998
Replies
1
Views
683
  • Last Post
Replies
2
Views
3K
  • Last Post
2
Replies
28
Views
3K
  • Last Post
Replies
2
Views
3K
Top