From pv magazine Germany

Researchers from the Fraunhofer Society (Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft) in Germany are currently working together to improve the production processes of electrolysers and reduce their production costs.

The four-year project aims to virtually replicate the best and cheapest processes as digital twins and transfer them to a technology kit so that industrial companies can verify the production costs at which they can. expect certain types of electrolysers before planning production. The objective is to reduce the production cost of electrolysers for green hydrogen by more than a quarter. The federal government is funding the research project to the tune of 22 million euros via the H2Giga hydrogen project.

“We are building a digital library of scalable electrolyser manufacturing processes with which the capital costs and even the return on investment can be determined in advance based on expected production volume, vertical manufacturing range and manufacturing variants, ”said Ulrike Beyer, head of the hydrogen working group at the Fraunhofer Institute for Machine Tools and Forming Technology IWU. The resulting technology kit will give the electrolyzer industry a real boost and a huge impact on innovation, she added.

The researchers pointed out that there are currently only a few chlorinator manufacturers on the market and these tend to serve niche markets with small volumes.

In addition to the Fraunhofer IWU, four other institutes of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft contribute their expertise: the Fraunhofer Institute for IPT production technology in Aachen; the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA in Stuttgart; the Fraunhofer Institute for Electronic Nanosystems ENAS in Chemnitz; and the Fraunhofer Institute for Microstructure of Materials and IMWS Systems in Halle (Saale). The IWU Fraunhofer is contributing to a new multi-pass laminating process for bipolar plates (BPP), which implements channel geometries in anodes and cathodes. Quality control will also be further developed. Fraunhofer IPT’s contribution includes research into new production technology solutions for the fabrication of the catalyst coated membrane (TLC), porous transport layer (PTL) and bipolar plates.

The IPA Fraunhofer will map the individual production modules of a reference factory, which will be set up in the participating institutes. The Fraunhofer ENAS will take care of the qualification of the digital inkjet printing process as a manufacturing process for the CCM, which is a central component of electrolysers. The Fraunhofer IMWS focuses on the characterization of electrolyzer components and systems, which allow the early identification of possible weak points and faults in industrial use.

Author: Petra Hannen

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