HPEM2GAS - High Performance PEM Electrolyzer for Cost-effective Grid Balancing Applications


The HPEM2GAS project will develop a low cost PEM electrolyser optimised for grid management through both stack and balance of plant innovations, culminating in a six month field test of an advanced 180 – 300 kW  PEM electrolyser. The electrolyser developed will implement an advanced BoP and improved stack design and components. Several strategies are applied to lower the overall cost, thus enabling widespread utilization of the technology. These primarily concern an three-fold increase in current density (resulting in the proportional decrease in capital costs) whilst maintaining cutting edge efficiency, a material use minimisation approach in terms of reduced membrane thickness whilst keeping the gas cross-over low, and reducing the precious metal loading.

Further, improving the stack lifetime and a reduction of the system complexity without compromising safety or operability. All these solutions contribute significantly to reducing the electrolyser CAPEX and OPEX costs.

The large-scale deployment of wind power and solar energy sources will strongly contribute to the implementation of Europe’s energy policies objectives, i.e. to produce 65% of electricity from renewable energy sources by 2050 and to reduce CO2 emissions linked to energy production by 50% . However, wind power and solar energy resources are characterised by intermittent behaviour and their fluctuations affect the stability and reliability of the electrical grid. Consequently, there is a strong need for rapid-response, costeffective and scalable energy storage systems capable of absorbing the electrical power exceeding the capacity of a transport and distribution line. This will considerably reduce the investments needed to build a new grid infrastructure. Hydrogen produced from water electrolysis can play a significant role as energy storage medium. Electrolysis can support the electricity grid in terms of power quality, frequency and voltage control, peak shaving, load shifting and demand response. However, current electrolysers, especially those based on alkaline systems, are characterised by poor dynamic behaviour, are designed to reach suitable efficiency at their operating design point, at typically close to 100% load, and to run continuously. This means that to provide grid services, future electrolysers should be capable to handle frequent start-stop and dynamic operations and need to be highly efficient across much of the load curve. High efficiency is required also under operating conditions largely exceeding the nominal load. Future electrolysers have to follow the variable energy generation profile of renewable power sources locally available and have to adapt to the intermittent profile of electricity supply.

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Laufzeit: 01.04.2016 - 31.03.2019

Partner: Solvay, ITM Power, CNR-ITAE, EWII Fuel Cells A/S, Stadtwerke Emden GmbH, Uniresearch

Förderung durch: Forschungs- und Innovationsprogramm Horizon2020, Europäische Union 

Kontakt bei EUTECProf. Dr. Sven Steinigeweg