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ENERGIX-Stort program energi

HYSTACK – Low cost, high efficiency PEM electrolyser stack

Alternative title: HYSTACK - PEM elektrolysepakke med høy effektivitet og lav kostnad.

Awarded: NOK 16.0 mill.

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Project Period:

2021 - 2023

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The newly published EU strategy on hydrogen identifies renewable, green hydrogen as a key priority to achieve the European Green Deal and EU has set a goal to install at least 6 GW of electrolysers by 2024 and at least 40 GW by 2030. The Hydrogen Council has published a roadmap where the markets for hydrogen towards 2050 is described and the demand for green hydrogen is estimated to be 560 million tonnes. This corresponds to a total electrolyser capacity of up to 4000 GW which gives a possible annual electrolyser market in Europe of 15 to 30 billion NOK. The main advantage of the HYSTACK electrolyser technology is that it enables more than 150% increase in the current density/hydrogen production rate compared to other electrolysers. This can result in up to 60% reduction in the capital costs of the electrolyser stack, which is the main cost driver for a water electrolyser. Alternatively, the HYSTACK can be operated at the same production capacity as a state-of-the-art electrolyser, but with at least 10% lower energy consumption. The HYSTACK is a flexible electrolyser technology optimised for either lower CAPEX or OPEX, providing cheap hydrogen production services for large scale applications. The innovation is a patented concept, based on a decade of research and development at SINTEF In 2021, the Hystack project has completed the design and design review of a prototype stack, optimised for the Hystack PEM concept. All parts are now in production for delivery in December 2021 and the stack will be assembled for testing in Q1 2022.

The HYSTACK project goal is to develop next generation PEM electrolyser for large scale hydrogen production. The innovation of this PEM electrolyser lies in the combination of using five times thinner PFSA membranes than membranes used in state-of-the-art PEM electrolysers and changing from the conventional water feed to only using humidified air on the anode. This enables more than 150% increase in the current density/hydrogen production rate compared to other electrolysers using the same energy input and resulting in up to 60% reduction in the capital costs of the electrolyser stack Due to the use of a much thinner polymer membranes, it is not possible to use conventional electrolyser stack components and design platforms. Today's PEM electrolyser stacks use components and materials with very rough surfaces and component thickness tolerances not suitable to be used in the HYSTACK concept. Therefore, a significant R&D effort must be carried out to develop an optimal design and to investigate suitable materials and components for this stack. To realise the HYSTACK innovation, it is imperative to address the following research: 1) Research and development of bipolar plates (BPP) flow field design, 2) Characterisation of catalyst coated membranes (CCMs) and understanding of degradation mechanisms and 3) Development of porous transport layers (PTLs) and understanding their transport properties.


ENERGIX-Stort program energi