Breakthrough development heralds new generation of PEM electrolysers

In what is seen as a major breakthrough, researchers of the Dutch applied technology institute TNO have developed an advanced electrocatalyst that reduces the required amount of iridium by a factor of 200, while achieving an average of one third of the performance of current PEM electrolysers.

To make PEM technology a viable option for the electrolyser capacity upscaling towards 40 GW in Europe by 2030, a drastic decrease in iridium dependency is needed. In the last two years, the TNO scientists successfully executed a number of experiments, resulting in a breakthrough patented technology developed within the Voltachem program. In order to realise an ultra-thin porous iridium catalyst layer in PEM stacks, experts from the TNO Holst Centre employed the spatial Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) technology. In the TNO Faraday Lab, the stability of the resulting new electrolyser cell was demonstrated with a so called ‘accelerated stress test protocol’ to test the cell under extremely harsh conditions. After this validation test, there was hardly any degradation.

The TNO will now work together with industrial partners to accelerate this development and bring the technology to the market before 2030. The next steps are to prove that the technology will work on a larger electrolyser cell area, that the degradation is limited over a longer lifespan, and that the efficiency of the cell can be increase towards the state-of-the-art level of PEM electrolysis.

HTW Editorial Team

HTW Editorial Team

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