Advent Technologies and Safran Power Units partner to advance HT-PEM fuel cell technology for aerospace
Fuel cell systems company Advent Technologies Holdings signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Safran Power Units, a leader in auxiliary power systems and turbojet engines. Leveraging Advent’s proprietary Ion Pair Membrane Electrode Assembly (MEA) technology, and Safran Aerospace knowledge and capabilities, this new collaboration will seek to advance the development of next-generation high-temperature proton exchange membrane (HT-PEM) fuel cell technology, specifically for the aerospace sector.
HT-PEM enables more efficient heat management versus low temperature-PEM (LT-PEM). It is more adapted for applications requiring high amounts of power combined with strong integration constraints such as aviation. HT PEM is more robust and can withstand toughest conditions, such as extreme temperatures and pollution, compared to LT-PEM.
The collaboration is further supported by a strong research consortium including Safran Tech (the Research & Technology Center of Safran Group), the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission, Fraunhofer Institute, the French National Centre for Scientific Research, the University of Strasbourg, and the IMDEA Energy Institute.
Led by Safran Power Units and with the support of Advent, the consortium has secured a grant for the Clean Hydrogen Partnership TC3-08 NIMPHEA Project. Running from 2023 to 2026, the project is funded by Horizon Europe.
NIMPHEA aims at developing—based on the development and/or optimization of its components: catalyst layer, membrane and gas diffusion layer—a new-generation HT MEA compatible with aircraft environment and requirements, considering a system size of 1.5 MW and contributing to higher level FC targets: a power density of 1.25 W/cm² at nominal operating temperature comprised between 160°C-200°C.
Advent’s Ion Pair MEA technology serves as the foundation for these advancements. In a competitive process, Advent was selected as the commercialization partner for a new HT PEM technology pioneered by US Department of Energy scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratories. This next generation HT PEM technology is based on strongly formed ion pairs between a charged membrane and phosphoric acid, and has been shown to operate at far higher current density than possible with current HT PEM MEAs while at the same time exhibiting substantially lower degradation rates.
As part of the newly signed MoU, Advent and Safran Power Units are exploring a Joint Development Agreement for the advancement of HT-PEM fuel cells in aviation and for enhancing Advent’s supply capability.
In 2021 SerEnergy A/S, fischer Eco Systems and UltraCell LLC merged into one Advent organization, launching the company into the forefront of fuel cell and systems companies that supply the entire technology chain from components to MEAs to stacks and systems.
Katie H. Lim, Ivana Matanovic, Sandip Maurya, Youngkwang Kim, Emory S. De Castro, Ji-Hoon Jang, Hyounmyung Park, and Yu Seung Kim (2023) “High Temperature Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cells with High Phosphoric Acid Retention” ACS Energy Letters 8 (1), 529-536 doi: 10.1021/acsenergylett.2c02367
Emory Sayre De Castro et al. 2022 Meet. Abstr. MA2022-02 1466
Lee, KS., Spendelow, J., Choe, YK. et al. (2016) “An operationally flexible fuel cell based on quaternary ammonium-biphosphate ion pairs.” Nat Energy 1, 16120 doi: 10.1038/nenergy.2016.120