About the project
Energy production from renewable sources such as wind and solar is dynamic and thus requires storage systems that respond in an equally dynamic way. Polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) water electrolyzers are expected to be particularly well-suited for long-term decentralized storage of excess energy from regenerative sources. However, cost-intensive precious metal catalyst materials are usually required for production. To reduce costs while increasing the energy storage with the help of water electrolysis, researchers are currently looking at using polymer membranes as the basis for alkaline water electrolysis (anion exchange membrane water electrolysis – AEMWE) using catalysts without precious metals and titanium-free electrodes.
Partners in the ruhrvalley AEMruhr Project are researching and working on developing and testing an AEMWE system based on hydraulic cell compression. With the help of this patented technology, innovative cell components are combined to form an electrolyzer stack with increased power density.
In hydraulic compression, the individual cells are contained in flexible pockets that are completely surrounded by a hydraulic fluid. Under pressure, all the cell components are homogenously compressed. Thus, any desired number of cells with any active cell areas can be effectuated. The capacity of such systems is therefore variable and can be adapted to the different requirements of decentralized use.
In the AEMruhr Project, the principle of hydraulic compression is being combined with an alkaline membrane to combine the advantages of this novel stack concept with the advantages of alkaline electrolysis. Alkaline electrolysis offers the potential for cost-effective hydrogen production by eliminating the need for rare and expensive precious metal materials such as platinum and primarily iridium. Due to the dynamic system requirements, however, this technology only becomes attractive for use in decentralized operations in combination with regenerative energy sources if the appropriate membranes are used.
The goal of the project is to build an alkaline membrane electrolyzer with a capacity of 50 kW. This demonstrator will be designed for decentralized use and can later be centrally controlled. To achieve the latter, the decentralized AEMWE systems will be connected to form a virtual load with special hardware modules and smart device controllers. Merging the decentralized AEMWE systems allows their functionality to be fully exploited.
All the information required for merging the systems into one virtual load is transmitted asynchronously to the platform based using messages. The platform will link the individual electrolyzers to a single system, whereby the individual power inputs and the total output will be visible on a dashboard. It will also be possible to control individual decentralized electrolyzers by way of setting options on the platform – a simple example of this would be switching on or switching off the electrolyzers.
- Alkaline membrane electrolysis
- Hydraulic single-cell compression
- High pressure electrolysis
- Decentralized hydrogen production
- Microservice architecture
- Model-driven software development
- Smart energy load management
Federal Ministry of Education and Research
Cooperation / project partners
- Fachhochschule Dortmund - University of Applied Sciences and Arts
- Westfälisches Energieinstitut (Westfälische Hochschule)
- Evonik Creavis GmbH
- Emscher Lippe Energie GmbH
- QuinScape GmbH