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European Partnership

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Clean Hydrogen Partnership
8 March 2024

Completion of three Anion Exchange Membrane electrolyser projects


Anion Exchange Membrane electrolysers (AEMEL) have the potential to combine the advantages of Alkaline (AEL) and Proton Exchange Membrane (PEMEL) electrolysers. PEMEL operate dynamically and have high current densities but use expensive catalysts like Platinum or Iridium to electrolyse pure water. AEL use low-cost catalysts like Nickel but electrolyse highly concentrated alkaline solutions of water (5M KOH) and operate at low current densities. AEMEL use non-noble low-cost catalysts and electrolyse pure water or slightly alkaline solutions (0.1-1M KOH) while reaching high current densities similar to PEMEL.

However AEMEL are still in the early research and development stage compared to AEL and PEMEL that are both commercially available and at large capacities. The Clean Hydrogen JU supported 3 projects under the same 2019 call topic as the 3 projects were complementary to each other, namely projects ANIONE, CHANNEL and NEWELY. All 3 projects were recently completed and managed to further knowledge in materials (catalysts for oxygen and hydrogen evolution) and components (reinforced membranes, low cost and durable electrodes) that were eventually assembled into 2kW stacks that were tested for a few hundred hours, gaining valuable experiences. Members of the 3 consortia have moved to scaling up to stacks of few tens of kW and large size cells in the context of more recent JU projects like HERAQCLES and HYSCALE. Some of the SME partners plan to commercialize the materials developed in the projects after upscaling.

The 3 projects, following the encouragement and facilitation of the JU, collaborated closely together sharing their challenges and achievements. The projects came up with a common testing protocols for AEMEL that were also shared with the EC Joint Research Centre. The 3 projects eventually established a cluster called the AEM-HUB with support from the EC Horizon Results Booster.