US duo to make hydrogen production more affordable

U.S. Southern California Gas (SoCalGas) and compatriot EVOLOH, an anion exchange membrane (AEM) electrolyzer technology developer, have completed a joint research project that resulted in enhancements to the current electrolyzer manufacturing process and technology.

According to EVOLOH, overall, the enhancements achieved in the project could reduce the capital costs of the electrolyzer technology by approximately 25% and could help make the cost of clean renewable hydrogen more affordable.

EVOLOH’s AEM is made with readily available materials and utilizes a roll-to-roll manufacturing process. This, as per EVOLOH, enables a “shorter and more reliable supply chain as well as a lower-cost, rapid production process for electrolyzer stack development.”

The project was able to achieve a 15% increase in hydrogen production efficiency to its Nautilus series electrolyzer stack, EVOLOH revealed, adding that increased efficiency also helps extend the equipment lifetime of the stacks compared to traditional techniques.

To note, SoCalGas’ Research, Development and Demonstration (RD&D) Program helped fund the project and provided technical assistance with EVOLOH’s development of high-speed coating methods for AEM electrolyzers.

The electrolyzer stacks are designed to be compact and modular and are capable of being scaled up to 24 MW each, which makes them well-suited for large-scale industrial applications, EVOLOH said.

The technology will soon be scaled up at EVOLOH’s manufacturing Center of Excellence in Lowell, Massachusetts, with a goal of producing 3.75 GW per year by 2025 in electrolyzer stacks and up to 15 GW in 2027. EVOLOH will also begin MW-scale testing at its new headquarters in Santa Clara, California, later in 2024.

Jimmy Rojas, EVOLOH’s CEO, stated: “Currently, electrolyzer manufacturing and hydrogen production is expensive. Electrolyzers can be difficult to make, transport and install, and certain current technologies require problematic supply chains. When our technology is produced using renewable energy, hydrogen becomes a versatile, flexible and carbon-free energy platform that opens up new pathways for tackling some of the thorniest climate problems—like heavy transport, steelmaking, fertilizer production and long duration storage.”

Jawaad Malik, Chief Strategy and Sustainability Officer at SoCalGas, commented: “Meeting the growing demand for clean renewable hydrogen production will require an extraordinary expansion of the current electrolyzer market. Innovative projects like this can help significantly reduce electrolyzer system costs and production time and enable clean renewable hydrogen production to become more cost competitive with traditional energy sources.”

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