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CIE receives 2.9 million to optimize green hydrogen production

Researchers from SDU and industrial partners Danfoss Drives and Green Hydrogen Systems have received a significant grant from “Erhvervsfyrtårn Syd: Fonden for Retfærdig Omstilling - Beyond Fossil” to develop efficient hydrogen production technology able to compete with fossil fuels in the market.

By Sune Holst, , 5/6/2024

"We are proud to receive this grant. Together with Danfoss Drives and Green Hydrogen Systems (GHS), we are addressing one of the biggest challenges in green hydrogen production and charting a new direction for research at the Center for Industrial Electronics at SDU," says a delighted leader of CIE, Professor Thomas Ebel.

As the lead partner, CIE  receives 2.9 million kroner from Erhvervsfyrtårn Syd FRO - Beyond Fossil for the project "Optimal cell design, flow dynamics, and current control for MW electrolyzer systems (OPCELMES)."

The project runs in collaboration with industrial partners Danfoss Drives and GHS and receives 4.55million kroner in total. The goal is to develop an efficient and competitive megawatt converter technology for alkaline electrolysis that intelligently interacts with the electrode to increase hydrogen production inside a purpose-optimized stack.

“Alkaline electrolysis is a process where water is split using electric current in an electrolysis cell containing an alkaline solution as the electrolyte. This hydrogen production technology is well-known and established with high cost efficiency, making it suitable for industrial scale. However, the technology has potential to be improved, which we aim to exploit," explains Thomas Ebel.

Efficient green hydrogen production is necessary for a CO2-neutral future
If we are to phase out fossil fuels entirely, we need an energy system with storage capacity besides renewable energy sources such as solar and wind.

The amount of power from green sources fluctuates throughout the day and requires reserves in storage. Therefore, we need green hydrogen production. Hydrogen can serve as a form of energy storage, as it can be produced when there is surplus energy from renewable sources and then stored and used when needed.

"By optimizing the design of the electrolysis cells, we try to improve the efficiency and lifespan of the system, which will reduce the costs of green hydrogen production. We also seek a better understanding of flow dynamics, which is crucial for the development of an advanced electrolysis cell. All of this aims to develop a more efficient and competitive production of green hydrogen," says Thomas Ebel.

OPCELMES represents an important investment in the future of green energy in Denmark and paves the way for a new research direction within CIE, as it focuses not only on traditional Power Electronics aspects but also benefits from Thomas Ebel's expertise in electro-chemistry.

"It's important to combine different disciplines to achieve innovative solutions in green energy. The project is a good example of that. One could say that it is new for CIE to combine power electronics with electrochemistry. Still, we are not starting from scratch, since we have strong partners and I have research and professional background in that area," says Thomas Ebel.

OPCELMES runs from 2024 to 2026. The project is also expected to significantly affect the economy by creating new jobs and stimulating growth and innovation in the energy sector.

Editing was completed: 06.05.2024