Low-temperature electrolysis (VEL & EEL)

Low-temperature electrolysis (e.g. alkaline or PEM water electrolysis) enables high-performance, compact hydrogen production that can be combined with suitable storage systems. This method is a key technology that contributes to the implementation of an environmentally friendly, reliable, and affordable energy supply of the future.

In alkaline water electrolysis, potassium hydroxide is used as the electrolyte solution. Furthermore, the application of noble metals as a catalyst material is avoided. In contrast, PEM electrolysis uses a proton-conducting membrane as the electrolyte, and its system configuration has a comparatively simple structure.

Scientists in the Electrochemistry Electrolysis (EEL) and Process Engineering Electrolysis (VEL) departments investigate electrolysis technology at different stages of development and system sizes. This includes research and development in the fields of alkaline electrolysis, PEM electrolysis, and alkaline PEM electrolysis. Increasing the efficiency and improving the long-term stability of components used is at the centre of all activities. The following competences are key to further development and are applied within the departments.

Research priorities at EEL

Research work at EEL focuses on the development of nanostructures, catalysts, electrodes, and membrane electrode assemblies for PEM and alkaline water electrolyzers. These electrochemical energy converters should help improve the use of renewable energy sources. To this end, electrochemical investigations are conducted to select suitable components and optimize membranes and catalysts. Experiments are carried out to research the production, optimization, and characterization of membrane electrode assemblies.

Electrochemical Analysis

  • Screening of materials and components
  • Characterization of gas permeability, conductivity, and durability
  • Physico-chemical investigation of the components
  • Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy

Membrane Electrode assemblies

  • Catalyst screening
  • Catalyst and membrane benchmarking
  • Development of catalyst inks
  • Investigation of coating techniques
  • Production of CCMs and MEAs at laboratory scale

Research priorities at VEL

Research work at VEL focuses on the development of stack and system components for electrolyzers on the basis of polymer electrolyte membranes (PEMs) and for alkaline water electrolyzers. Electrochemical investigations are conducted to optimize cell components and characterize membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs) as are process-engineering investigations to develop stacks and systems. These investigations are supported by modeling work and simulation calculations, which are also used to develop new control approaches. In addition, the behavior of electrolyzers is investigated in an energy system dominated by renewable energy.

Corrosion and interactions

  • In Situ
  • Ex situ

Multiphase flow

  • Two-phase flow in porous layers
  • Computational fluid dynamics (CFD)
  • Flow visualization using imaging techniques (neutron and synchrotron radiography and tomography)
  • Mechanical characterization of porous layers

Stack development

  • Computer-aided design
  • Flow simulation
  • Mechanical design of components
  • Quality control
  • Electrochemical tests

System development

  • Modellierung der Systeme
  • Aufbau von Testsystemen im kW-Maßstab
  • Entwicklung von Sicherheitskonzepten
  • Identifikation von Betriebsfenstern
  • Wärmemanagement
  • Gasaufbereitung

Head of departments

Process Engineering Electrolysis Dr. Martin Müller

Electrochemistry Electrolysis Dr. Martin Müller (acting)

Last Modified: 19.01.2023