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. By converting electricity to gas through the use of electrolysis, 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. This option also serves to decarbonize the transport sector, i.e. changing over from fossil to renewable energy sources.
Until now, high investment costs have been a barrier to market entry, especially in the case of smaller electrolyzers. This is where the ecoPtG project comes into play: The straightforward approach with simplified production processes and affordable materials, such as plastics, intends to make the envisaged alkaline 100-kilowatt electrolysis suitable to the market. For this purpose, wedd are predominantly drawing on experience from the automotive industry. The focus is hereby 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. The ecoPtG project has been designed to investigate ways of transferring these technologies to hydrogen production.
In this project, the RLI is analyzing operation and application scenarios of the electrolysis system for hydrogen fueling stations and off-grid usage. Specific tasks include:

  • Heading the “Process-, Simulation- and Market Potential Analysis” aspect of the project
  • Development of a simulation model which takes into account the whole electrolysis system, covering all relevant effects:
    • Determination of a suitable level of detail in order to ensure qualitative simulation results at suitable computation times
    • Development of key performance indicators that facilitate an economical and technical evaluation
  • Development of the best operational strategies for both stationary and dynamic operation of electrolyzers:
    • Translation of the developed simulation software into a control tool that enables optimized operation of the electrolysis system that takes into account prognoses of the weather, the price of electricity, and demand
  • Analysis of the application potential of electrolysis systems in the mobility sector, off-grid locations, and in industry:
    • Determination of suitable locations with application potential for hydrogen
    • Determination of technical requirements for the system in conjunction with environmental conditions of the locations
    • Market potential analysis to determine economic viability of individual locations

Join the ecoPtG Project!

Are you thinking about integrating hydrogen applications into your daily operations? The RLI is inviting businesses and municipal bodies to join our research project by providing real scenarios from their day-to-day routines, to be used for our feasibility studies.

Possible applications are the hydrogen supply of refueling stations, personal car and commercial vehicle fleets, logistics hubs, trains, ships, and industrial processes, as well as hydrogen as an energy storage.

Would you like to know more or apply for the study? Contact us!.


Funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy

Coordinated by Project Management Jülich.
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Oliver Arnhold

Project Manager

Jörn Hartmann


Marlon Fleck


Stephen Bosch