Project Overview

The main objective of NOVEL is to develop and demonstrate an efficient and durable PEM water electrolyser utilising the new, beyond the state of the art materials developed within the project. The objective supports the overall vision to utilise hydrogen as an energy carrier for a wide range of applications in the near future.

The electrolyser will demonstrate a capability to produce hydrogen with an efficiency of at least 75% (LHV) at rated capacity with a stack cost below €2,500/Nm3h-1 and a target lifetime in excess of 40,000 hours (< 15 μVh-1 voltage increase at constant load).

In the NOVEL project we aim to take advantage of the successes in the ongoing NEXPEL project and continue the development of the most promising technical solutions as well as capitalizing on the existing, well functioning, organisational structure of NEXPEL.

In order to overcome the challenges facing PEM electrolysers, we will in the NOVEL project perform integrated material and component development together with optimization of stack and system design. The development activities will focus on increasing the electrolyser performance, efficiency and endurance while reducing capital cost in order to bring this technology to the marketplace NOVEL will go beyond NEXPEL however, in introducing more novel materials and degradation mitigation strategies, with the clear aim of further significant reductions in the cost of ownership of a PEM electrolyser stack.

To reach these ambitious objectives, NOVEL will develop and demonstrate enhanced components that are essential for cost-competitive, high-efficiency PEM electrolysis systems through five key concepts:

  • Lower capital costs of the main stack components; membrane, electrodes and bipolar plates / current collectors
  • Increase performance, in particular of the membrane electrode assembly (MEA), with reduced platinum group metals (PGM) loadings
  • Longer life time of the most crucial PEM components, e.g. the membrane, catalysts and current collectors
  • Novel system design for cost-efficient operation at high pressure and improved electrolyser lifetime.
  • Development of accelerated stress test protocols for PEM electrolysers for lifetime evaluation and durability investigation of novel components.

Efficiency higher than 75% will be met by means of:

  • more stable and active electrodes/catalyst materials
  • highly conductive membrane materials
  • higher operating temperature up to 100°C
  • lower hydrogen losses
  • improved electrical contact between MEAs and current distribution plates

Stack cost <2.500 €/Nm3 H2 in series production will achieved by:

  • replacement/reduction of the expensive materials (PFSA membrane, high loading of Pt/Ir catalysts, bipolar plates made from titanium)
  • increase of the performance of the components and sub-system
  • developing components suitable for mass production

Extended life time (<15 μV/h at constant load)

  • reducing hydrogen cross over reducing chemical degradation by peroxides
  • developing more stable catalysts, porous current collectors and bipolar plates
  • designing stack which minimizes temperature and mechanical stress gradients

The NOVEL consortium is confident that a successful dissemination and exploitation of the project results at the European and international level will create considerable impact towards realising the overall vision to utilise hydrogen as an energy carrier for a wide range of applications in the near future.

Published October 25, 2012