next generation PEM electrolyser for sustainable hydrogen production


Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems
Business area “Hydrogen Technology”

   Test bench for characterization of   
   reversible fuel cell stacks
With a staff of 930 Fraunhofer ISE is the largest European solar energy research institute. Within the business area Hydrogen Technology more than 80 scientists, engineers, PhD and other students work on the research and development of fuel cells and hydrogen generators. We offer and perform research and development services based on contract research for industrial partners or in public funded projects.
The annual budget of the business area is in the order of €4 M, with about 40 % provided directly by industry.

Research focus
For over 20 years, Fraunhofer ISE has been carrying out applied research in the business area Hydrogen Technology. The work covers applied research and development on hydrogen production by means of reforming and electrolysis, hydrogen storage s well as hydrogen conversion into electrical power and heat by means f PEM fuel cells.

Goals of research
Our overall goals can be summarise as follows:
Short-term: Development of hydrogen technology including approaches and components up to prototypes and market-ready products.
Medium-term: Technological support for the commercialisation of fuel cells and hydrogen generators.
Long-term: Establishment of hydrogen as one of the future energy carriers for a sustainable energy economy based o renewable energy sources.

Competence specialisation

  • Components and automated LT and HT PEM fuel cell systems ranging from 1 Wel up to a few kWel
  • Stack and system development for PEM electrolysis ranging from a few Wel up to a few kWel
  • Automated reformer systems up to 20 kWel range with product gas purification for (bio-) ethanol, (bio-)diesel, gasoline, kerosene, LPG (camping gas) and natural gas
  • Catalyst development and characterisation for reformer systems and gas purification
  • Hydrogen generation using chemical hydrides
  • Component and system development for redox flow batteries
  • Characterisation and modelling of hydrogen components and systems
  • Development of control and safety technology
  • Monitoring of hydrogen systems in field tests
  • Accredited tests for components and systems as well as VDE certification

The scientific investigation of the physical, chemical and electrochemical reactions and mechanism constitutes the basis for an optimized design of our components and systems. In order to constantly improve our technology, we employ simulation tools, dynamic simulation models, wide-ranging characterisation options for in-situ and ex-situ
diagnostics and automated longterm measurement equipment. The scientific and technical equipment comprises state-of-the-art analysis tools e.g. standard MS, GCs, FTIR, Environmental Scanning Electron Microscope (ESEM) with EDX and an Inductively Coupled Plasma (ICP-MS) unit. Core equipment are purpose-built test benches e.g. a
multi-channel impedance system for spatially resolved measurement on PEM fuel cell stacks.

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Published April 16, 2010

CEA LITEN  Fraunhofer ISE FuMA-Tech GmbH Helion - Hydrogen Power SINTEF Statoil ASA University of Reading

This project has received funding from the European Community's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013)
for the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Technology Initiative under grant agreement n° 245262.