NEL awarded grant to develop electrolyser stack to enable lower cost hydrogen generation

Source: press release, 31 March 2020

The Proton PEM Electrolyser provides fast response times and production flexibility making it ideal for hydrogen generation utilising renewable power sources
The Proton PEM Electrolyser provides fast response times and production flexibility making it ideal for hydrogen generation utilising renewable power sources (illustration: Nel ASA)

Proton Energy Systems, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Nel ASA, has been awarded a USD 1.85 million grant by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for development of a novel electrolyser cell stack approach to enable higher efficiency, low cost hydrogen generation.

“We are very excited to receive this award from the DOE. Success of this project will not only demonstrate a cost-effective pathway for hydrogen energy storage, but it will also help further improve our electrolysers in general, enabling lower cost hydrogen generation for all other customer segments,” says Kathy Ayers, Vice President R&D of Nel Hydrogen US.

The purpose of the project is to develop a highly efficient unitised reversible fuel cell (URFC) system based on proton exchange membrane (PEM) technology. A URFC is in principle an electrolyser stack which can be operated in reverse, to also produce electricity as a fuel cell. State of the art fuel cells exhibit higher efficiency and lower cost compared to electrolyser cell stacks. Developing the electrolyser operating conditions to enable configurations that have more commonalities with state-of-the-art fuel cells will enable lower cost and higher efficiencies.

The project is funded by the Fuel Cell Technologies Office within DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, and part of DOE’s H2@Scale initiative, developed in response to the opportunity for hydrogen to provide improved efficiency and resiliency in multiple sectors including transportation and industry, and to realise gains in various industries using or producing hydrogen.