The Anonymous Widower

Torvex Energy

Hydrogen And Chlorine Production At ICI Mond Division in The 1960s.

In my time in the late 1960s, when I worked For ICI Mond Division, I spent time in the Castner-Kellner works trying fairly unsuccessfully to develop an analyser to detect mercury-in-air in the Castner-Kellner process, that created chlorine and hydrogen from brine.

The process is not a nice one as it uses a mercury cathode and Wikipedia says this about safety.

The mercury cell process continues in use to this day. Current-day mercury cell plant operations are criticized for environmental release of mercury leading in some cases to severe mercury poisoning (as occurred in Japan). Due to these concerns, mercury cell plants are being phased out, and a sustained effort is being made to reduce mercury emissions from existing plants.

ICI felt that a mercury-in-air analyser would help to make the plant safer.

But ICI did have an alternative way to produce the chlorine they needed for selling as a gas or liquid or using as a base chemical for products like disinfectants, bleaches and dry cleaning fluids, without the use of mercury.

It was only a small plant and I was taken their once.

As with the Castner-Kellner process, it used a series of electrolyser cells.

  • These were smaller and had a tub, with a concrete lid.
  • The anode and cathode and the pipes collecting the hydrogen and the chlorine went through the lid.
  • They were rebuilt regularly.
  • As with the Castner-Kellner process, brine is electrolysed.
  • The process was old and probably dated from before the Castner-Kellner process.

But of course as there was no mercury, the hydrogen and chlorine were pure and could be used for certain types of manufacture like pharmaceuticals.

Torvex Energy

This article on Hydrogen Fuel News is entitled Stockton R&D Firm Unveils New Hydrogen From Seawater Production Process.

These are some points from the article.

  • Torvex Energy, a Stockton research and development company, recently unveiled a new technique for producing hydrogen from seawater.
  • This unique method of producing hydrogen from seawater does not result in oxygen gas emissions.
  • As such, it is clearly quite different from more traditional water electrolysis methods used for producing green H2.
  • The team behind the production method call it an environmentally friendly technique.
  • There is no desalination process.
  • The firm has patents pending on this unique form of electrochemical process.
  • It worked with the Material Processing Institute to establish proof of concept for this purpose.

I originally felt that Torvex Energy may have updated the ancient ICI process, that I saw over forty years ago, but when I asked the company, they said it was different.

It now appears that they haven’t, which means they must have found a totally new process.

There is certainly an ongoing patent application with a number of gb1900680.8.

How Efficient Is The Torvex Energy Process?

This will be key and there is nothing on their web site or on the Internet to indicate, if the Torvex Energy process is more or less efficient than traditional electrolysis.

Offshore Hydrogen Production

The main application for the Torvex Energy process must surely be in the production of hydrogen offshore.

  • A fleet of floating wind turbines could surround a mother platform with a Torvex Energy process.
  • The hydrogen could then be sent ashore in a pipeline.
  • If there to be a handy depleted gas field, the this could be used to store the gas.

Depending on the efficiency of the Torvex Energy process, this could be a more cost-effective way to bring energy ashore, as gas pipelines can be more affordable, than HVDC electrical links. Especially, if pipeline already exists.

Conclusion

Torvex Energy would have appeared to have made a major breakthrough in the production of hydrogen.

 

April 17, 2022 - Posted by | Energy, Hydrogen | , , , , , , , ,

3 Comments »

  1. As ive mentioned before given the urgency to come up with solutions to dealing with climate crisis govt needs to be supporting any credible proposal with cash to get on with R&D. Many will fail but somewhere some group will have a viable solution.

    Comment by Nicholas Lewis | April 17, 2022 | Reply

    • My chemistry and physics is struggling with this one.

      I also think, that judging the Government on some of the past ideas in this field, that they have backed, that if asked, they would back this one.

      The original article says that they are backed by an angel investor. So is that investor tech-savvy? I suspect so!

      Comment by AnonW | April 17, 2022 | Reply

  2. […] Torvex Energy, I discuss a method to create hydrogen from seawater, without having to desalinate the water. […]

    Pingback by How Britannia With Help From Her Friends Can Rule The Waves And The Wind « The Anonymous Widower | April 19, 2022 | Reply


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