Frensch, Steffen

PROJECT TITLE: Lifetime Investigation of PEM Electrolyzers under realistic Load Profiles  

PhD period: 2015.09.01 - 2018.08.31.
Section: Fluid Mechanics and Combustion
Research Programme: Electro-Fuels
Supervisor: Søren Knudsen Kær
Co-Supervisor: Samuel Simon Araya
Contact information

Collaborators: IRD Fuel Cells A/S and AVL List GmbH.
Funding: e-STORE (Innovation Fund Denmark).



At present, two of the major challenges of the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy production are energy storage and grid stability. One technology addressing those two issues is a hydrogen based energy production infrastructure with water electrolysis being responsible for hydrogen production. PEM water electrolyzers are promising candidates, but improvements in reliability are crucial to achieve high market penetration.

This project aims to further understand and improve the major parameters connected to degradation with load variations caused by grid imbalances being of special interest. To maintain reproducibility and create comparable results, experimental lifetime investigations are carried out strictly following prior set-up test protocols. Characterization methods as EIS and CV will be utilized for membrane resistance or activation overpotential investigations and catalyst activity degradation, respectively. Post-mortem analyses (e.g. SEM) of membrane and catalyst layers can help to visualize and quantitatively estimate structural changes due to degradation such as carbon corrosion, formation of cracks or migration and agglomeration of catalyst particles.


Publications in journals and conference papers may be found at VBN.