Events at Department of Energy Technology

Guest Lecture: Reducing the Cost of PEM Electrolysers


17.06.2022 kl. 09.00 - 10.00



Polymer Electrolyte Membrane (PEM) Electrolysers have many desirable characteristics for hydrogen production from fluctuating renewable energy sources. They have fast start up and response, they are compact, they can endure significant differential pressures across the polymer electrolyte, and they operate at relatively low temperature. However, one of the most significant barriers to wide-spread deployment is cost. Polyfluorosulfonic Acid Membrane (PFSA), commonly referred to as Nafion©, is expensive and in limited supply. The high-loading of Iridium-oxide as the Oxygen Evolution Anode catalyst is relatively expensive but more importantly is the fifth rarest element on the periodic table. In the past 5 years Iridium has risen from less than $1000 per ounce to over $5000 per ounce. Our research group has investigated the use of non-fluorinated hydrocarbon membrane, alternative catalyst synthesis methods, low cost tantalum carbide as a catalyst support and optimized membrane electrode assembly methods. An overview of our results to date will be presented.


Dr. Brant Peppley is a professor in the Dept. of Chemical Engineering at Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada. He was the founding director of the Queen’s-RMC Fuel Cell Research Centre (FCRC) where an extensive industrially driven research program was undertaken on fundamental testing and modelling of Polymer Electrolyte Membrane (PEM) fuel cells from 2005-2015. From 2007 to 2014 he was a Tier I Canada Research Chair in Fuel Cells. As FCRC’s areas of research diversified it was rebranded as the Sustainable Energy Engineering Queen’s University Laboratories (SEEQUL). Although hydrogen still is the major focus of the research, the underlying motivation for using hydrogen has a much wider scope and is driven by carbon emissions reduction. Dr. Peppley has published 111 peer reviewed papers on fuel cells and hydrogen production. His primary research focus is currently low temperature water electrolysis, which is considered a key process for storing intermittent renewable energy from solar PV and wind as hydrogen. 



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