SoCalGas completes research project to enhance electrolyzer manufacturing process

Published on July 08, 2024 by Dave Kovaleski

© Shutterstock

Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) recently completed a joint research project with EVOLOH Inc. to enhance the current electrolyzer manufacturing process and technology.

The enhancements could reduce the capital costs of the electrolyzer technology by approximately 25 percent and could help make the cost of clean renewable hydrogen more affordable.

EVOLOH is an anion exchange membrane (AEM) electrolyzer technology developer. Its AEM is made with readily available materials and utilizes a roll-to-roll manufacturing process. This enables a shorter and more reliable supply chain as well as a les expensive rapid production process for electrolyzer stack development.

The project was able to achieve a 15 percent increase in hydrogen production efficiency to EVOLOH’s Nautilus series electrolyzer stack – the component that splits water into hydrogen and oxygen. Further, the increased efficiency helps extend the equipment lifetime of the stacks compared to traditional techniques. The electrolyzer stacks are designed to be compact, modular and are capable of being scaled up to 24 megawatts each, which makes them well-suited for large-scale industrial applications.

“Meeting the growing demand for clean renewable hydrogen production will require an extraordinary expansion of the current electrolyzer market,” Jawaad Malik, chief strategy and sustainability officer at SoCalGas, said. “Innovative projects like this can help significantly reduce electrolyzer system costs and production time and enable clean renewable hydrogen production to become more cost competitive with traditional energy sources.”

The technology will soon be scaled up at EVOLOH’s new manufacturing Center of Excellence in Lowell, Mass. It has a goal of producing 3.75GW per year by 2025 in electrolyzer stacks and up to 15GW in 2027. EVOLOH will also begin MW-scale testing at its new headquarters in Santa Clara, Calif. later this year.

“Currently, electrolyzer manufacturing and hydrogen production is expensive. Electrolyzers can be difficult to make, transport and install, and certain current technologies require problematic supply chains,” Jimmy Rojas, EVOLOH’s CEO, said. “When our technology is produced using renewable energy, hydrogen becomes a versatile, flexible and carbon-free energy platform that opens up new pathways for tackling some of the thorniest climate problems—like heavy transport, steelmaking, fertilizer production and long duration storage.”

SoCalGas helped fund the project and provided technical assistance through its Research, Development, and Demonstration (RD&D) Program. The RD&D Program plays a key role in developing and demonstrating innovative products and technologies that can promote decarbonization across the natural gas value chain and a diversified portfolio of cleaner energy sources.