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Advent and Airbus in $13M joint benchmarking project of optimized MEA for fuel cells

Advent Technologies recently entered into an agreement for a joint benchmarking project with Airbus regarding an optimized Ion Pair Membrane Electrode Assembly (MEA) for hydrogen fuel cells.

The goal of the project is to accelerate the development of Advent’s MEA and benchmark the Ion Pair MEA against aviation requirements and current/expected technological limits.

Airbus has agreed to provide a portion of the financial contribution to the project and share its extensive knowledge of the aviation industry. Advent has agreed to invest in people, materials, hardware, and third-party research centers, to contribute to the goals of the project.

The combined value of Advent and Airbus’ investment pursuant to the agreement is $13 million. The Project will take place over the next two years and will commence concurrently upon the execution of the agreement.

Advent’s Ion Pair MEA operates at 170 °C (80 °C – 240 °C), thus enabling Advent’s HT-PEM (high-temperature PEM) fuel cells. The fuel cell can work with reformat gas, impure hydrogen, and eFuels.

By operating optimally at 170 °C, the Advent Ion Pair MEA is the first technology to beat the US Department of Energy heat rejection target by reaching a ΔQ/T level of 1.03 at a hot 50 °C—far below the 2025 goal of 1.45 set at only 40 °C, a target the current LT PEM technology can not reach. By running the MEA hot, you can keep the fuel cell engine cool and use smaller radiators for less drag.

The Ion Pair MEA does not use water as the conducting medium—meaning that the HT-PEM fuel cell system’s balance of plant and thus the design, testing, and manufacturing is much simpler. There is no worry about overheating, freezing, humidity high or low, ambient temperature (-20 °C to 55 °C), or purity of air intake. All these factors have minimal or no effect on the HT-PEM fuel cell performance while they can be life-ending for a typical LT-PEM system, Advent says.

Advent systems systems require a single-stage methanol or alternative eFuel gas reformer, typically yielding approximately 70% hydrogen and 1-2% carbon monoxide, with the remaining balance being carbon dioxide.


  • 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



' The Ion Pair MEA does not use water as the conducting medium—meaning that the HT-PEM fuel cell system’s balance of plant and thus the design, testing, and manufacturing is much simpler. '

That is much of the hassle about current LT fuel cells and would represent a very large simplification.


I wonder if the HT-PEM can make H2 fuel actually economically competitive for ground transport assuming marginal cost electricity.



For me, it really depends on how heavy the vehicle is.

I really, really don't see the notion of long distance heavy load trucking on batteries, and neither do almost anyone in the industry, with only Tesla who are newbies, and the VW group counting on the deeply problematic, and long delayed, Quantumscape solid state batteries as hold outs.

Shorter runs and lighter loads, especially on predictable routes, are a different matter.

If people insist, and Governments enable by their tax structures, a continued move to SUVs, as massive as possible, then fuel cells are the better option than lugging around that amount of batteries.

I really hope not though.

HT PEM will be wonderful, hopefully, in the premium aviation market initially, then we can start to get some volume and look at land transport.


“The fuel cell can work with reformat gas, impure hydrogen, and eFuels.”
Doing research on reformed biomethanol and e-methanol now.
For some applications, like UAV aka “drones” and helicopters (or eVTOL), methanol fuel HTPEM may already be practical or cost-effective.
Leave with this Advent reference:



Another early market following on from aviation I would fancy rather than road transport, save perhaps for heavy vehicles, is recreational boating.

The Italians are putting 100 million Euros into building 100 stations to supply hydrogen for this market, and I really don't fancy compressed hydrogen for it.

Methanol or DME on a boat would be way better.



I dunno how Advent Technology's fuel cell compares to that of Blue World Technology, who are working with Alfa Laval:


Advent also works with Alfa Laval.

The CEO of Blue World Technology, Anders Korsgaard, was former CEO of SerEnergy, which was acquired by Advent Technology in 2021.


The Advent Ion Pair MEA looks like a good fit for Aviation. The research in this post reports that the quaternary ammonium-biphosphate ion-pair HT-PEMFCs do not lose phosphoric acids under normal and accelerated test stress conditions. Researchers were from Advent Technologies, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Korea Institute of Science andTechnology, and Hyundai Motor Group.
Full report here:

Here is a GCC post from 2019 on Blue World Technologies HT-PEM with a Dapozol MEA. There are some good comments, also.

Airbus is doing significant research into Fuel Cell Aviation and working with Zeroavia. Zeroavia acquired Hypoint which makes HTPEM. Hypoint partners with BASF.
Advent partners with BASF. Not sure how they are connected, however, it looks like there must be some.

Two Methanol references that detail it’s potential :
“ HOW METHANOL IS STAKING A CLAIM TO BE A KEY ENABLER FOR HYDROGEN-FUELED AVIATION”,,infrastructure%20for%20liquid%20hydrocarbon%20transport.


Hi Gryf:

Yeah, I had a vague memory that Blue World and Advent had links, but these days I have trouble remembering what I had for breakfast.

I do remember looking in detail at Hypoint's information on their fuel cell prior to their takeover by Zero Avia, and was seriously impressed by the level of detail they provided, as some are remarkably shy about providing such stuff, other than saying that they are a funtastical game changer.



Completely different subject, wholly irrelevant to this article, but since you are about here I would very much appreciate your lights on this technology, which ticks a lot of boxes for me, as it seems to be cheap like me, and can potentially in my view solve the problem of diurnal variation in renewables:

Analysis here:

Some get excited about blue sky stuff pushing the boundaries in all sorts of ways, I get excited when I hear industry standard components, closed loop systems and, for instance, turbines running at 300C, at which temperature they should last pretty well forever with maintenance.

One thing occured to me however, that if there were a failure of the balloon containing the CO2, then since it is heavier than air it would be a deadly cloud around the installation.

I have no idea what mitigation or emergency measures are possible,

20MW, 200MWH at great round trip efficiency and low cost with industry standard components not degrading in the way batteries do is potentially a game changer in my view though.

But I have probably missed everything, in spite of my impressive technical qualification of an 'O' level in chemistry (1966), so am interested to know whether I am on the money, or off the rails! ;-)


I have been interested in Super critical CO2 turbines for some time and yes storage of CO2 must be handled carefully. Even a leak in an enclosed space can be deadly. There have also been studies of storage in deep underground.
Also, as Wind and Solar become an increasing part of our electric grid, many novel approaches to managing the seasonal variations in renewable energy have been proposed.

One proposal which is very interesting and somewhat related to this discussion is a study by Tom Brown at the Technische Universität Berlin, about “Ultra-long-duration energy storage anywhere: Methanol with carbon cycling”.
This study uses green methanol from hydrogen electrolysis and a supercritical CO2, oxyfuel combustion using the Allam cycle. There is also above ground carbon dioxide storage and utilization of the oxygen from the electrolysis process.
This concept takes the “Energy Dome” to the next level.
Here are the references:


We seem to be broadly on the same page.

My view would be that, at least in the UK and probably elsewhere, we would benefit greatly from a hydrogen grid to offtake output from the North Sea windfarms, where one pipeline, some of which already exist for NG, can be converted to bring the power ashore, with one hydrogen pipely the equivalent in energy transport terms to several electric cables.

There are two reasons for doing it that way in spite of the losses inherent in turning the electricity from the turbines into hydrogen and back again.

One is that it is easier to shift it around, and the second is that a proper hydrogen grid would enable its use right where needed with stonking electrical plus thermal efficiency, powering heat pumps, space heating, fuel cells and so on.

The biggest objection as outlined by Dr Paul Martin on Engineering with Rosie is that you only transfer around a third as much energy in a given pipeline as the equivalent in NG:

My answer to that is pretty much: 'So what?'

When NG in the UK is used in present inefficient ways, we have to assume the failure of just about everything to mitigate climate change to need to pump so much energy around.

That starts with chucking much of the energy of NG used for electric generation out through a cooling chimney, but also applies to NG piped into homes, where just the thermal heat is used, when fuel cells etc hit over 90%electrical plus thermal efficiency.

And then there are coming contributions from rooftop solar, heat pumps and better insulation.

A third as much capacity as the current NG grid sounds like a pretty good first approximation of requirements.

Dr Martin also of course outlines the usual concerns about embrittlement etc.

I won't bore you by posting further links, but AFAiK no one seriously doubts that it can be done, but the extent and cost of refurbishing existing NG pipelines to start carrying hydrogen is less clear.

Certainly we could do it with purpose built pipelines, but as noted conversion costs are open to question.

That appears to me to be less relevant the longer the time horizon.


Checking out Energy Dome versus the alternatives you list, three things stand out:

The first is that you are not constrained to location determined by geography, as you are for instance with Salt Cavern Storage, and also totally different tech like pumped hydro.

You can stick an energy dome, safety considerations to one side for the moment, pretty well anywhere you have 4.5 hectares of land availabe.

The second is efficiency. 75-80% round trip efficiency looks perfectly doable with inflatable domes, as against some of the other options you mention ( which I like, for other purposes than the overnight storage which it appears that Energy Dome may well enable ) as against 35% or so for conversion to methanol etc.

That contributes to point 3

Cost. High efficiency, moderate temperatures and pressures, industry standard components with long life and little degradation, mean that the cost looks way better than alternatives, including the 4 hours or so of storage that is realistic with batteries

My view then is that IF it performs as it should, and the first ful scale unit is due for completion before the end of the year, then it would appear that we have a rapidly deployable solution to overnight renewables storage, IF safety concerns can be met.

That would mean that for the areas where the vast majority of people live, and where an even greater proportion will live out to 2100, with abundant year round solar resources, then renewables can deal with approaching 100% of demand

Overnight storage is pretty much enough, most places.


Dunkelflaute events.

Unfortunately, whilst most places where most live, 24 hour storage appears likely to cover just about everything, with some leeway from excess capacity etc, that does not apply to Europe in particular, and to some extent North America, and northern China (?)

That is due to what are called dunkeflaute conditions, extended periods of cloudy, still weather.
As my link indicates, they can be mitigated but not eliminated by interconnected grids:

In spite of their relatively low round trip efficiency, the links you have posted to making methanol and storing it seem to me to be the realistic option, and the cost not excessive as it would only be used infrequently,

Apologies to anyone who finds me banging on about all this excessive, especially as it is off topic to the thread, but once a nerd, always a nerd, and laying out arguments and inviting criticism is kinda how I check whether what I am thinking is sensible, or nuts, which is not infrequently the case!

So anyone who wants to rip holes, please do so!
If you rebut successfully, I will just file off the serial numbers and make your opinion my own! Without acknowledgements, obviously!


I should add that here in the UK, and also other places, there are considerable problems in driving through electrical interconnectors to transfer power from renewables to where it is needed.

A hydrogen grid using converted NG pipelines where possible is way easier from a planning and public opposition POV, and not nearly as intrusive.


Back a wee bit more on topic, Turbotech and Safran are testing a hydrogen turboprop for light aircraft:

They are piggybacking on experience with Ariane.

It is running on compressed gas at the moment, but as soon as next year they reckon they will be using liquid hydrogen with an Air Liquid storage system.

Roger Brown

"Advent systems require a single-stage methanol or alternative eFuel gas reformer, typically yielding approximately 70% hydrogen and 1-2% carbon monoxide, with the remaining balance being carbon dioxide."

The advantage of using e-methanol is that you avoid the difficult problems of hydrogen transport and storage. The disadvantage is that you get carbon emissions which in a net zero economy would require balancing carbon extractions. I know of three options for CO2 extraction: direct air capture, biological capture by plants, and capture at the point of fuel use. It is not necessary to choose just one extraction method; you could combine them in any percentage.

The advantage of capture at the point of use compared to air capture is the relatively high percentage of CO2 in the reformed gas compared 0.04% in the atmosphere. Some researchers at Northwestern University have proposed capturing CO2 from solid oxide fuel cells on long range vehicles and the recycling it into e-fuel ( ). They focus particularly on tanker ships though conceivably freight trains could use the same technology.

Presumably the technology could be used with MEA fuel cells as well. I am not sure how the slight mixture of CO in the CO2 would affect the efficiency of reconversion to e-fuel.

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