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NREL and Electric Hydrogen partner to develop high-performance electrolyzer components

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and clean hydrogen startup Electric Hydrogen are collaborating to develop high-performance electrolyzer components. The three-year, $3.6-million project will diagnose sources of degradation in commercial electrolysis cells and will validate advanced designs that use higher stack currents.

In June, Electric Hydrogen closed a $24-million Series A financing to support continued product development and expansion of its operations in the Greater Boston and San Francisco Bay areas. Electric Hydrogen was founded by a team of energy transition veterans from First Solar and Tesla.

Electric Hydrogen is engineering a high-performance product for water electrolysis—something that could scale up to significant commercial applications. NREL has pretty unique hardware for testing electrolyzer stacks; this will allow us to characterize efficiency, durability, and performance across a range of operating conditions.

—Guido Bender, NREL principal investigator on the project

Our goal is to build industrial-scale electrolysis so that carbon-heavy industries can adapt. NREL has a history of helping next-up technologies scale to larger markets, and we are confident that this collaboration will achieve similar breakthroughs for renewable hydrogen.

—David Eaglesham, co-founder and chief technology officer at Electric Hydrogen

This project builds on more than a decade of research and capability investment at NREL by DOE’s Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office and supports DOE’s H2@Scale vision for clean hydrogen across multiple applications and economic sectors. It will complement ongoing work through two NREL-led, multi-lab consortia: Hydrogen from Next-generation Electrolysis of Water (H2NEW), focused on materials and component integration, manufacturing, and scale-up to help support large industry deployment of durable, efficient, and low-cost electrolyzers, and HydroGEN, focused on accelerating development of less mature water-splitting materials and technologies to complement the work of H2NEW.

For the Electric Hydrogen project, the researchers will specifically look at proton-exchange membrane electrolysis and will study the methods of managing heat and degradation with high current densities. The team members aim to integrate and optimize multiple specially engineered layers, shrinking the system size and costs while designing for a future large commercial-scale stack.


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