Investigating possible methods to produce a modular low-cost electrolysis system with production capabilities of approximately 100 kW using technology transfer from the automotive industry

Project period 01.11.2015 – 31.10.2018

In the course of the energy transition, electricity is increasingly being generated from fluctuating sources. Solar and wind energy generation depends on the weather and is subject to significant fluctuations. At times, renewable energy production thus temporarily exceeds regional demand. Hydrogen produced according to the so-called power-to-gas method plays a key role in resolving this challenge and decarbonizing the transport sector, i.e. changing over from fossil to renewable energy sources. By converting electricity to gas, solar and wind power become storable over a long time period without losses. If required, hydrogen can be reconverted or used as environmentally compatible fuel for fuel cell vehicles.
Up until now, high investment costs were a barrier to market entry, especially in the case of smaller electrolyzers. The partners IAV, ZSW, RLI, and HT set up the ecoPtG project to change this situation. Using a straightforward concept, simplified production processes and affordable materials, such as plastics, they intend to make the envisaged alkaline 100-kilowatt electrolysis fit for the market. To achieve this aim, the project partners are predominantly using automotive technology, focusing on power electronics, steering and sensor technology as well as production process components for temperature control and media loops. In the automotive industry, many of these components, which also meet electrolysis requirements, are mass-produced cost-effectively using various drive technologies. The ecoPtG project has been designed to investigate ways of transferring these technologies to hydrogen production. The RLI is analyzing operation and application scenarios of the electrolysis system for hydrogen fueling stations and off-grid usage.
The RLI is head of the “Process-, Simulation- and Market Potential Analysis” aspect of the project. The main focus is the development of a simulation model which takes into account the whole electrolysis system, covering all relevant effects. Depending on the scenario, a suitable level of detail has to be chosen to ensure reliable simulation results at moderate computation times. Key Performance Indicators are defined in order to allow assessment of the system with regards to economical and technical aspects. On this basis, the best operational strategies for both stationary and dynamic operation are identified. Furthermore, possible system locations and resulting technical requirements are investigated. The economic viability of the locations is evaluated through a market potential analysis. For hydrogen fueling stations (on-site) and areas without a grid connection (off-grid) the locations and future needs of electrolysis systems in the 100 kW class are predicted by these simulations and recommendations for action are devised.
Funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy

Coordinated by Project Management Jülich.


Oliver Arnhold

Project Manager

Jörn Hartmann


Marlon Fleck


Stephen Bosch