Water Electrolysis, PEM and Alkaline

IFE has designed and built a flexible high-pressure PEM water electrolysis system platform that is available for testing of small-scale electrolyzer stacks up to 200 bar, 410 A and 33 kW. The PEMWE test rig is part of the national infrastructure “The Norwegian Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Centre” (N-FCH).  The PEMWE-system is connected to an advanced power conditioning system which makes it possible to emulate different load profiles (e.g., grid, wind, and solar PV). The PEMWE-system can also be connected to a 16 kW PV-system and/or a Li-ion battery storage system.  

The one-of-a-kind PEM electrolysis test rig at IFE is well suited to qualify new stack platforms, to study performance and degradation of next-generation stacks and systems, to parameterize dynamic system models, and to tailor and test advanced control strategies that safeguards the system and maximizes efficiency and durability. Whereas theoretical studies addressing optimization of energy management systems are in abundance, actual implementation and testing of model-based control strategies is needed to better understand the technical constraints and requirements for more advanced instrumentation.

IFE’s Corrosion technology department provides R&D services on materials and corrosion for the energy industry, including hydrogen, oil and gas, CCS and geothermal energy production. We perform corrosion and cracking testing of material candidates for critical stack and balance of plant components for alkaline water electrolyzers as part of industry-funded projects, as well as damage analysis, surface characterization and multiphysics modelling of electrolyzer operating conditions.

The Corrosion tech dept has about 500 m2 of HTHP laboratories with zones for toxic gas and Ex testing. IFE’s line of corrosion test equipment consists of autoclaves and flow loops for HTHP testing, and glass cells for testing at ambient pressure. Most of the autoclaves and loops are made of nickel-based alloys such as Hastelloy C-276, which makes them suitable for testing with alkaline environments.

Water Electrolysis Research Capabilities

  • PEM water electrolyzer stack testing up to 410 A, 33 kW and 200 bar
  • Electrochemical in-situ characterization, including advanced impedance spectroscopy
  • Design and operation of advanced PEMWE system configurations
  • Long-term durability measurements including dynamic load profiles
  • Test protocol development ex. accelerated test protocols and condition monitoring techniques
  • Modeling of dynamic operation of PEMWE-systems (e.g., renewable energy-based systems)
  • Experimental studies of materials corrosion and cracking mechanisms in alkaline electrolyzers
  • Water electrolysis system design and techno economic analysis
  • Testing and analysis of corrosion, cracking and other degradation of materials for critical stack and balance of plant components in alkaline electrolyzers.

More information:

High-Pressure PEM Water Electrolysis System –  Zenodo