Proposals should aim to significant and innovative improvements of the manufacturing processes to achieve the expected KPI targets. The changes can involve both the manufacturing of components of the single unit (e.g. innovative materials and processes) and the assembly of a whole stack (e.g. automation). Integrated quality control and monitoring systems are also included.
The following items are in scope of this topic and should lead to cost reduction and cell/stack reliability improvement. Scalability should be considered for each of the research paths to be followed in the project. The project should consider the re-use and recycling of the electrolysers and their components at their end of life. Proposals should address at least 3 of the topics below:
- Alternatives and/or novel processes should be identified, allowing improved conduction coatings with impact on Platinum group metals (PGM) content. Catalysts should be reduced in water electrolysers, since they are both very expensive and CRMs;
- Exploration of new surface coating technologies and advanced manufacturing processes (e.g. 3D printing) for more efficient mass production, which can allow higher current density and process efficiency;
- Improvement of manufacturing throughput, feature control, and scale for electrolyser bipolar plates to be coupled with a reduction of the processing cost through cost-effective and mass production-friendly processing techniques, including forming, punching, cleaning, coating and other processes;
- Reduction of the manufacturing steps and transportation costs required to fabricate porous transport layers/gas diffusion layers;
- Improvement of the level of automation of the cell stacks assembly thanks to the development of robotics tooling and automated inspection;
- Test and development of scalable predictive maintenance devices which can greatly reduce the O&M costs of the electrolyser stack;
- Include process design to leverage the recyclability of the materials at the end of life and the utilisation of recycled materials in novel manufacturing on a circularity approach.
Consortia should include at least one electrolyser OEM, one actor from the manufacturing sector and at least one SME.
Consortia are encouraged to consider some of the best practices from the fuel cell manufacturing sector not yet adopted in the electrolyser manufacturing and that could be beneficial to it. In addition, consortia are encouraged to explore synergies and cooperation with Made in Europe partnership (Cluster 7).
Proposals are expected to address sustainability and circularity aspects. In particular, circularity and sustainability by design concepts should be holistically considered towards the whole technology chain.
Activities are expected to start at MRL 4 and achieve MRL 5 by the end of the project.
The conditions related to this topic are provided in the chapter 188.8.131.52 of the Clean Hydrogen JU 2022 Annual Work Plan and in the General Annexes to the Horizon Europe Work Programme 2021–2022 which apply mutatis mutandis.