Enhanced performance and cost-effective materials for long-term operation of pem water electrolysers coupled to renewable power sources
The overall objective of the ELECTROHYPEM project is to develop cost-effective components for PEM electrolysers with enhanced activity and stability in order to reduce stack and system costs and to
improve efficiency, performance and durability. The focus of the project is on low-cost electrocatalysts, low-noble metal loading electrodes and membrane development. The project addresses the development of PEM electrolysers based on such innovative components for residential applications in the perspective of a suitable integration with renewable power sources.
Achievements to date
Nanosized Pt and Ir oxide electrocatalysts with enhanced mass activity have been developed respectively, for hydrogen and oxygen evolution reactions in PEM electrolysers. These electrocatalysts, in combination with short-side chain sulfonated perfluorosulphonic ionomer membranes performances of 2.8 A cm-2 at 1.8 V with hydrogen, ae cross-over lower than 1 mA cm-2.
The achievement of such performance is attributed to the enhanced proton conductivity of the novel membranes and the high electrochemically active surface area electrocatalysts. Interesting performances have also been obtained with fluorine-free low-cost hydrocarbon membranes. High surface area oxide supports are under development to reduce the noble metal loading in the MEA.
The project deals with cost-effective and enhanced durability components for PEM electrolysers which are amenable to be integrated with renewable energy sources. The decentralised hydrogen production may represent an important option for the future. This implies the use of small systems directly coupled to wind/solar sources for hydrogen generation and its storage at high pressure. The aim of the project is to contribute to the road-map, addressing the achievement of a large-scale decentralised hydrogen production infrastructure in approaches clearly oriented towards long term innovation. The main impact concerns the enhanced performance and cost-effectiveness of PEM electrolysers, obtained through the development of novel electrocatalyst and membrane formulations.
The overall objective of the ELECTROHYPEM project is to develop cost-effective components for proton conducting membrane electrolysers with enhanced activity and stability in order to reduce stack and system costs and to improve efficiency, performance and durability. The focus of the project is mainly concerned with low-cost electrocatalysts and membrane development. The project is addressing the validation of these materials in a PEM electrolyser for residential applications in the presence of renewable power sources.
The aim is to contribute to the road-map addressing the achievement of a wide scale decentralised hydrogen production infrastructure. Polymer electrolytes developed in the project concerned with novel chemically stabilised ionomers and sulphonated hydrocarbon membranes, as well as their composites with inorganic fillers, characterised by high conductivity and better resistance than conventional Nafion membranes to H2-O2 cross-over and mechanical degradation under high pressure operation. Low noble-metal loading nanosized mixed-oxides oxygen evolution electrocatalysts, highly dispersed on high surface area conductive doped-oxide or sub-oxides are developed together with novel supported non-precious oxygen evolution electrocatalysts prepared by electrospinning. After appropriate screening of active materials (supports, catalyst, membranes, ionomers) and non-active stack hardware (bipolar plates, coatings) in single cell and short stack, these components are validated in a PEM electrolyser prototype.
The stack is integrated in a system and assessed in terms of durability under steady-state operating conditions as well as in the presence of current profiles simulating intermittent conditions.