Advent Technologies signs CRADA with DOE labs for development of next-generation HT-PEM fuel cell technology
Advent Technologies Holdings signed a joint development agreement (CRADA) with the US Department of Energy’s (DOE), Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).
Under this CRADA, along with support from the DOE’s Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office (HFTO), Advent’s team of scientists will work closely with its LANL, BNL, and NREL counterparts over the coming years in order to develop breakthrough materials that will help strengthen US manufacturing in the fuel cells sector and bring high-temperature proton exchange membrane (HT-PEM) fuel cells to the market.
This project will also contribute to the acceleration of energy and transportation technologies that will enable a clean, zero-emissions energy future.
The aim of HT-PEM fuel cells is to fulfill the promise of “Any Fuel. Anywhere.” They can allow ships to run on renewable methanol or ammonia, airplanes to run on dimethyl ether (DME) or hydrogen, and off-grid power generators to work with any green fuel that is easily transportable to remote locations. The ability to use any hydrogen-carrying fuel, in addition to pure hydrogen, is a major breakthrough in reducing the required infrastructure investments.
The developing world is where the battle of climate change will be won or lost, and a low-cost infrastructure is a must. Synthetic eFuels will be produced by green hydrogen in the near future and thus be sustainable in such applications. HT-PEM technology allows for hydrogen fuel flexibility, while the competition is currently limited to very pure hydrogen that is compressed at 700bar. By forging this partnership, we are taking yet another step closer to realizing our clean energy future.—Dr. Emory De Castro, Advent’s Chief Technology Officer
The signed CRADA formalizes Advent’s role in this program, structures the joint development, and defines milestones and investment required to accelerate the technology scale-up. It also leverages state-of-the-art research facilities and talent at the DOE’s LANL, BNL, and NREL sites, as well as Advent’s expertise in fabricating polymers, membranes, catalysts, and electrodes.
The effort encompasses scaling up the critical components of this next-generation membrane assembly: BNL catalysts, LANL membrane, electrode binder, and membrane electrode assembly (MEA) architecture. Advent’s scientists and engineers will work side-by-side with the primary inventors to facilitate rapid process development.
The LANL MEA that Advent will commercialize is based on a novel chemistry. It does not rely on water as the conducting medium but instead on an engineering plastic, thus allowing for a wider range and high-temperatures for reliable operation (80 ˚C to 240 ˚C). The technology developers expect that overall fuel cell system design will be simplified drastically, resulting in reduced system costs. Early results indicate a longer lifetime even compared to Advent’s current commercial products.
In addition, the agreement with BNL will focus on commercializing ultra-low platinum electrode technology that can bring the platinum/kilowatts (kW) required number down 90% (a 10x improvement). Platinum is an essential precious metal that is used in mobility fuel cells, and the BNL technology has the potential to reduce costs along with supply chain and environmental problems.
NREL will aid in developing manufacturing processes for these advanced materials.
HT-PEM fuel cell technology will allow heavy-duty and other hard-to-decarbonize applications to operate with high efficiency while using hydrogen and mitigating water management problems.
In February, Advent acquired UltraCell LLC, the fuel cell division of Bren-Tronics. UltraCell is a leader in lightweight fuel cells for the portable power market.