CORDIS - EU research results

Cost-effective PROton Exchange MEmbrane WaTer Electrolyser for Efficient and Sustainable Power-to-H2 Technology

Project description

Clean and sustainable methanol production at a cost the world can afford

The use of hydrogen (H2) as a renewable source of energy could mitigate climate change caused by carbon emissions. However, its production currently relies on hydrocarbons, resulting in large emissions of CO2. Obtaining the H2 from clean and simple electrolysis of water coupled to renewable sources could solve the problem. Proton exchange membrane water electrolysis is a promising technology in this respect. Enabling widespread uptake requires reducing or eliminating the use of expensive precious metal catalysts and other expensive components without compromising performance. The EU-funded PROMET-H2 project is taking this promising technology for cheap renewable H2 generation from the lab to market allowing further conversion to fuels and high-value chemicals. In this context PROMET-H2 will demonstrate the conversion to methanol, the simplest alcohol that can be produced from only CO2 and H2.


The need for de-carbonization of our society is a pressing issue raising the attention at social and political levels. The production of high value chemicals and fuels such as methanol requires hydrogen derived at the moment from hydrocarbons and resulting in large emissions of CO2. Green Hydrogen produced by water electrolysis coupled to renewable sources could be the ultimate solution to this problem. Proton exchange membrane water electrolysis (PEMWE) is the most suitable technology for this process due to its compactness and flexibility. However, the dependence on precious metal catalysts and expensive components manufactured in titanium poses a serious threat for the scale up and market penetration of this technology. PROMET-H2 project aims to develop a pressurized PEMWE with the lowest capital cost ever achieved (500-750 €/kW) without compromising performance and durability. The stack, based on hydraulic compression technology, will contain improved membranes and electrodes with reduced or even free of precious metal contents and with coated stainless steel bipolar plates (BPP) and porous transport layers (PTL). The materials and components that will make this possible have already been demonstrated in laboratory and in PROMET-H2 these innovations will be implemented in a 25 kW PEMWE system. Such electrolyser will be coupled with a methanol production pilot plant from CO2. Materials recycling strategies will be developed and a deep LCA and cost evaluation will be realised to ensure that the new PEMWE can be scaled-up to meet the demands of large methanol industrial plants. A well-balanced consortium of 12 industry and academic partners will address these challenges in three years with the aim of achieving renewable methanol production. At the end of the project, they will establish R&D and business cooperation in a value chain that goes from the nanomaterial synthesis to the green production of one of the most promising fuels and feed-stock chemicals.

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Net EU contribution
€ 1 151 538,75
51147 Koln

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Nordrhein-Westfalen Köln Köln, Kreisfreie Stadt
Activity type
Research Organisations
Total cost
€ 1 151 538,75

Participants (11)