Johnson Matthey Partners to Enhance Electrolyzer Efficiency

28.04.2022 - Johnson Matthey and Schaeffler, a leading supplier to the automotive and industrial industries, are working with Bekaert, a provider of porous transport layers for proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolyzers, and research institute TNO to bring a step-change in the efficiency of electroyzers used to produce hydrogen.

The work is part of the three-year VoltaChem shared research program, and the goal is to accelerate the development of PEM technology by optimizing the most important electrolyzer components. This, said Johnson Matthey, will ultimately support the next generation of PEM electrolyzers, enabling lower electricity consumption, cheaper hydrogen production and a smaller footprint.

The team will also investigate more efficient use of scarce critical elements and components, which it said offers increased efficiency compared with existing electrolyzers.

“The energy transition is gathering pace and governments are making ambitious targets to reach ‘net zero’ emissions,” said Ralph Calmes, Johnson Matthey’s managing director, hydrogen technologies. “Green hydrogen is a truly carbon-neutral solution, and here we have the opportunity to drive the innovation which will make hydrogen more affordable and reliable. The collaboration envisaged by this consortium aims to accelerate not just in the area where Johnson Matthey is focused, but of PEM technology as a whole.”

Electrolysis is used to produce green hydrogen with water and power from renewable sources and is regarded as a key enabling technology for zero-emission energy. The International Renewable Energy Agency’s scenario for limiting a rise in the earth’s temperature to 1.5°C forecasts that approximately 5,000 GW of electrolyzer capacity will be needed in 2050 to enable sufficient hydrogen to meet 12% of total global energy demand. But, said Johnson Matthey, technology innovation and accelerated adoption are critical to ensure this happens.

Author: Elaine Burridge, Freelance Journalist