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Comment Sustainability

Tecnicas Reunidas launches EVER project to accelerate development of AEM electrolyzers

By Mary Page Bailey |

Técnicas Reunidas S.A. (TR; Madrid, Spain) is currently executing EVER – Development of a Low Cost Electrolyzer for the Production of Green Hydrogen, an R&D project focused on the study, design, construction and validation of new anion exchange membrane technology (AEM) electrolyzers. The project has an execution period of 34 months and a budget of €1,465,434, and will be supported by the Center for the Development of Industrial Technology.

The EVER project is part of TR’s strategy of seeking technological solutions to meet the challenge of mitigating climate change, the effects of which our planet and our society are beginning to notice. Within the political and social measures that have been proposed at global, European and national level, the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions is identified as the most critical to reverse climate change. The use of green hydrogen as an energy vector is revealed as a potential solution for a drastic reduction of carbon dioxide emissions in a widespread use in critical sectors such as energy-intensive industry or heavy transport.

Currently, alkaline electrolysis of water is the only mature technology firmly established in the market capable of producing green hydrogen, i.e. from non-fossil raw material (water) and which can be powered by renewable energies. However, alkaline electrolysis suffers from low efficiency and high costs in hydrogen production. In recent years, proton exchange membrane (PEM) water electrolysis technology has entered the market providing a significant increase in production efficiency over alkaline technology. On the other hand, PEM electrolyzer components are overly dependent on critical raw materials, which increases cost and supply risk, as well as low environmental sustainability.

In this context, water electrolysis by means of anion exchange membranes (AEM) is a promising technology to overcome the aforementioned barriers, as it combines a very high potential to achieve high green hydrogen production efficiencies with components based on non-critical and highly sustainable materials. It should also be noted that AEM is still an emerging technology with a market still very limited to low power applications, which makes it less competitive than PEM or alkaline technologies.

The EVER project represents the first step on TR’s path to achieve electrolyzers based on AEM technology in the near future. To meet the needs identified in the market, these electrolyzers will be capable of providing high volumes of green hydrogen for applications such as renewable energy surplus storage or as an energy-intensive fuel. With this purpose in mind, EVER is oriented towards an exhaustive analysis of essential components and materials, the study of designs that provide the required efficiency while being sustainable (eco-design), as well as their integration and validation in experimental trials and through pre-industrial demonstrators. With these milestones achieved, EVER will move towards scaling up the developments made to reach production levels compatible with current and future market demands.

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