Design and Operation of a Low Pressure Electrolyzer (LPE) for Submarine Applications 2001-01-2441
A Low Pressure Electrolyzer (LPE) is being developed to provide metabolic oxygen aboard US nuclear submarines. The system is derived from a more complex system already developed for the Virginia Class of attack submarines. The LPE generates up to 250 standard cubic feet per hour (SCFH) of oxygen at ambient pressure through electrolysis of water utilizing SPE® (Solid Polymer Electrolyte) technology. The hydrogen is generated at pressures suitable for disposal overboard. The system operates unattended which minimizes crew workload, and can safely shut down without crew intervention. Generating oxygen at ambient pressure significantly reduces risk to personnel and greatly simplifies the system. Reliability, maintainability, safety, and ease of operation are major system design drivers.