ZSW: First test and innovation center for electrolysis opened

The hydrogen economy is picking up speed, and large international markets are emerging. A key element here is electrolysis for the production of green hydrogen. For the market ramp-up of electrolysers, test and inspection capacities as well as consulting services for the industry on the manufacturer and user side must be created. ElyLab” is the first cross-technology test and innovation center for water electrolysis in Germany. The initiators are the Center for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg (ZSW) and the German Aerospace Center (DLR), which are thus pooling their expertise in the field of electrolysis.

“With ElyLab, we want to set the technical course for the future of hydrogen and accelerate the market ramp-up of the technology,” explains Dr. Marc-Simon Löffler, ZSW division manager for renewable energy sources and processes.

“So far, generally accepted accelerated aging procedures are lacking in electrolysis technology and little experience exists in the neutral evaluation of electrolysers. ElyLab will provide a decisive impetus for all hydrogen production technologies and support industry with neutral evaluations ranging from material analysis to system testing on a megawatt scale,” says Prof. Dr. K. Andreas Friedrich, head of the Electrochemical Energy Technology department at DLR, explaining the technical tasks of the center.

The two partners can draw on a broad base: DLR and ZSW have decades of experience in all relevant areas of electrolysis and extensive analysis and testing capabilities. These range from cell components such as electrodes, membranes or cell frames to electrolysis block technologies and complete systems, and from materials analysis to practical testing on a megawatt scale. In the ElyLab project, ZSW focuses primarily on alkaline electrolysis; DLR covers PEM (Proton Exchange Membrane) /AEM (Anion Exchange Membrane) and SOEL (Solid Oxide Electrolysis) technologies in particular. The partners want to work more intensively on the development of standardized test procedures in order to be able to offer manufacturers and users a quality benchmark.

ZSW is currently expanding its test infrastructure at the Stuttgart site. The existing test stands on the kilowatt and megawatt scale will be supplemented by additional test stands as well as test facilities for cell areas measuring several square meters. DLR will expand the test capacities for PEM, AEM and SOEC on an industrial scale and equip them with high-quality analytics. In addition, by mid-2022, a feasibility study funded by the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Economics will examine the technical and economic feasibility of an electrolysis testing center in the Stuttgart region, which will then bring together the joint activities in order to effectively utilize local and regional hydrogen distribution and utilization opportunities.


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