Prometheus – New Concept of a Proton Exchange Membrane Electrolysis Stack for Elevated Temperatures and Pressures

Duration: 01/2021 - 12/2024
Contracting Authority/ Sponsors:
Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi.IIC6); Research Center Jülich GmbH (PT-J.ESI3)
Project Partners: Hoeller Electrolyzer GmbH (Koordinator); Element 22 GmbH; iChemAnalytics GmbH; Aalberts Surface Treatment GmbH
Project Focus:
Laboratory test cell for PEM electrolysis
© Fraunhofer ISE / Foto: Joscha Feuerstein
Pressure and temperature stable laboratory test cell for PEM electrolysis for the characterization of cell components with an active area of 25 cm² and optional reference electrode.
Detailed view of a fully automated test bench at Fraunhofer ISE for measuring laboratory PEM water electrolysis test cells. In the test bench shown here, operating pressures of up to 50 bar can be realised
© Fraunhofer ISE
Detailed view of a fully automated test bench at Fraunhofer ISE for measuring laboratory PEM water electrolysis test cells. In the test bench shown here, operating pressures of up to 50 bar can be realised

Hydrogen production by water electrolysis is a main element of sector coupling. It connects the electrical world of power generation from renewable energy sources with the world of molecules and its application sectors industry, transport and heat. Hence water electrolysis is an important technical approach to achieve our national climate protection targets by 2050. With the approval of the German government's National Hydrogen Strategy in June 2020, the importance of electrolysis is massively underlined and both Germany and many other European countries have set ambitious expansion targets in the high GW range until 2030. Already today water electrolysis is a mature technology, but the electrolysis industry now faces the challenge of making the technology ready for the future requirements and developing components and processes for large-scale production.

Under the coordination of the electrolysis manufacturer Hoeller Electrolyzer GmbH, an experienced industrial consortium consisting of Element 22 GmbH, iChemAnalytics GmbH and Aalberts Surface Treatment GmbH has been formed with the aim of developing a new type of cell stack for PEM water electrolysis, able to work in an extended operating window. With its many years of R&D experience in the field of PEM water electrolysis Fraunhofer is contributing to this project and supports the consortium in selected scientific and technical issues.

Overall goal of this joint research project is the development of a cell stack for PEM water electrolysis which can be operated at elevated temperatures of up to 120 °C and elevated pressures of up to 80 bar. Thus, the stack is capable of opening up new fields of application for PEM water electrolysis. The development work will contribute to the improvement of the stack platform "Prometheus" from the company Hoeller Electrolyzer and thus expand the company's product portfolio.

Fraunhofer ISE has been involved in PEM water electrolysis for more than 30 years and supports the industrial consortium in this project in various areas of component qualification and stack development. The individual research objectives of the institute are

a) the design and construction of a new laboratory test cell for material testing in the above-mentioned operating window

b) the development and evaluation of new measurement procedures at high temperatures and pressures, in order to identify and to qualify suitable materials and material combinations for high temperatures and pressures

c) In the long-term characterization of short stacks and thus in the identification of main degradation effects of the newly developed stack platform in the extended operating window.

In addition to these research goals, Fraunhofer ISE supports the industrial partners in the design process and in the specification of individual cell components, as well as in other aspects of stack and system integration.

More Information on this Topic:

Research Topic

Electrolysis and Hydrogen Infrastructure

Business Area

Hydrogen Technologies