H2ACCELERATE – Fast-tracking advanced PEM electrolysis materials and monitoring

Timeframe is 2022 – 2024

Piotr Bujlo
Senior Scientist
Thomas Holm
Ragnhild Hancke
Head of Department/Hydrogen Technology

Green hydrogen is considered one of the cornerstones in the shift away from fossil fuels. Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) water electrolysis is one of the key technologies for conversion of renewable energy to hydrogen and has a large potential for growth. Enabling factors to support the growth are reduction in CAPEX and OPEX. This can be achieved through improvements in product design, catalysts, membranes, and optimization of operating conditions.

The H2ACCELERATE project aims to improve the PEM technology by developing and qualifying accelerated stress test (AST) protocols and advanced condition monitoring of cells and stacks. The project is a cooperation between Nel Hydrogen and Institute for Energy Technology (IFE), and the main idea is to evaluate cutting-edge stack components produced with roll-to-roll coating processes in a test platform that is technologically relevant for large-scale commercial stacks. IFE will perform advanced electrochemical analyses of the degradation processes and failure modes in the investigated electrolysers.

Currently, verification and validation of design changes are lengthy processes, including long-term durability testing. New protocols for accelerated stress tests will therefore contribute to fast-track the validation of new materials and cells, which again will reduce technical product risk and allow for much faster implementation of new materials into Nel’s commercial PEM electrolysers.

Methods developed in this project may be used for both PEM and alkaline water electrolysis systems. Both technologies are especially well suited for transport and storage systems, where compact and dynamic systems are beneficial.

In addition to strengthen cost efficient and sustainable production of hydrogen, the project will also reinforce the Norwegian electrolyser industry to better compete with international suppliers of other emerging electrolyser technologies. The outcome of H2ACCELERATE has the potential to open major new market opportunities for Nel in both Norway and abroad.