Next-Generation PEM Electrolyser for Sustainable Hydrogen Production

Framework Programme: 
Call for proposals: 
Application area: 
Hydrogen production & Distribution
Project fact sheet: 

The main objective of the NEXPEL project, a successful demonstration of an efficient PEM electrolyser integrated with Renewable Energy Sources, supports the overall vision to establish hydrogen as an energy carrier in a large range of applications in the near future.


The very ambitious objectives will be addressed by a top class European consortium which is carefully balanced between leading R&D organisations and major industrial actors from 4 member states. An iterative approach between system, sub systems and components will be applied to define its cost, performance and ecological targets. This will be accompanied by a design to cost exercise as part of the life cycle analysis.


Efficiency greater than 75% will be achieved by:

  • developing more effective electrodes
  • adapting highly conductive new membrane materials
  • increasing the operating temperature for increased kinetics
  • lowering the hydrogen cross over using denser membranes
  • increasing the system pressure to reduce pump losses

A stack life time towards 40 000 h will be achieved by:

  • reducing hydrogen cross over reducing chemical degradation by peroxides
  • developing more stable catalysts, porous current collectors and bipolar plates
  • designing stack which minimizes temperature and mechanical stress gradients
  • developing high efficient advanced power electronic minimising load stress for the electrolyser


Reducing system costs to EURO 5,000/Nm3 is a major driving force and will be addressed by:

  • replacing/reducing of expensive materials (PFSA membrane, Pt loading, titanium)
  • increasing the performance of components and sub-systems
  • simplifying the system
  • developing components suitable for mass production


The consortium is confident that the dissemination and exploitation of the project will create considerable impact especially in terms of Europe’s energy security, reducing greenhouse gas emission and increasing Europe’s competitiveness.



Project reference: 
SP1-JTI-FCH.2008.2.1 Efficient PEM electrolysers
Project type: 
Research and technological development
Contract type: 
Collaborative Project
Start date: 
Friday, January 1, 2010
End date: 
Monday, December 31, 2012
36 months
Project cost: 
€ 3,068,183.80
Project funding: 
€ 1,256,286

Stiftelsen SINTEF, Norway

Other participating organisations: 
The University of Reading UK
FuMA-Tech Germany
Fraunhofer ISE Germany
Helion France
Statoil Hydro ASA Norway
Publisheable Reports: 
Daniel W. Smith, Macromolecules 26/02/2013, 1504 - 1511, "A Microblock Ionomer in Proton Exchange Membrane Electrolysis for the Production of High Purity Hydrogen"