IGM Colloquium: Membrane-free electrolysis for hydrogen production


Event details

Date and time 29.09.2020 12:1513:15  
Place and room
Speaker Prof. Demetri Psaltis, Optics Laboratory, EPFL School of Engineering (STI), Institute of Microengineering (IMT)
Category Conferences - Seminars

If you would like to attend the talk in BM 5202, please register here (on a first-come, first-served basis). This allows us to limit the number of people in the room and to satisfy contact tracing requirements.

For remote attendance: Zoom link

Hydrogen fuel is a promising solution for the energy and environmental challenges we face. When used as a fuel the energy stored in the hydrogen molecules is released with only water and oxygen as the byproducts. However, hydrogen must also be generated with a clean process. This can be accomplished by using clean electricity (photovoltaics, wind farms, hydroelectric) to split water into H2 and O2. The high cost of H2 produced through electrolysis is the main reason preventing the adoption of hydrogen as a fuel. We will present recent results on the development of membrane-less electrolysers. This method shows promise for reduced cost and can therefore it can contribute towards an accelerated adoption of hydrogen as a fuel. The key idea is to tailor the flow of the electrolyte to separate the O2 and H2 products and guide them to different exit ports where they can be collected. The attached figure shows a photograph of one of the fabricated devices.

Demetri Psaltis is Professor of Optics and the Director of the Optics Laboratory at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL).  He was educated at Carnegie-­Mellon University where he received the Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and Economics in 1974, the Master's in 1975, and the PhD in Electrical Engineering in 1977. In 1980, he joined the faculty at the California Institute of Technology, in Pasadena, California where he held the Thomas G. Myers Chair in Electrical Engineering. He served as Executive Officer for the Computation and Neural Systems department from 1992-­1996. From 1996 until 1999 he was the Director of the National Science Foundation research center on Neuromorphic Systems Engineering at Caltech. In 2004 he established at Caltech the Center for Optofluidic Integration and he served as the director until he moved to EPFL in 2006 where he established his research lab and served as dean of the engineering school for 10 years. His research interests are imaging, holography, biophotonics, nonlinear optics, and optofluidics. He has over 400 publications in these areas. Dr. Psaltis is a fellow of the IEEE, the Optical Society of America, the European Optical Society and the Society for Photo-­‐optical Systems Engineering (SPIE). He received the International Commission of Optics Prize, the Humboldt Award, the Leith Medal, the Gabor Prize and the Joseph Fraunhofer Award/Robert M. Burley Prize.

Practical information

  • General public
  • Free



IGM Colloquium: Membrane-free electrolysis for hydrogen production