Horizon Europe (2021 - 2027)

Development and Validation of Pressurised High Temperature Steam Electrolysis Stacks (Proton Conducting Ceramic Electrolysis)

Last update: Jan 13, 2023 Last update: 13 Jan, 2023


Location: EU 27 EU 27
Contracting Authority Type: Development Institution
Status: Awarded
Budget: EUR 2,500,000
Award ceiling: N/A
Award floor: N/A
Sector: Energy
Eligible applicants: Unrestricted / Unspecified
Eligible nationalities: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, A ... See more Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, American Samoa, Angola, Anguilla, Argentina, Armenia, Aruba, Austria, Azerbaijan, Azores, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bermuda, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, British Virgin Islands, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canary Islands, Cape Verde, Caribbean Netherlands, Cayman Islands, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Cote d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Dem. Rep. Congo, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Commonwealth of, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Estonia, Eswatini (Swaziland), Ethiopia, Falkland Islands, Faroe Islands, Fiji, Finland, France, French Polynesia, French Southern Territory, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Greenland, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kiribati, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Montserrat, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Netherlands, New Caledonia, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, North Korea, North Macedonia, Norway, Pakistan, Palau, Palestine / West Bank & Gaza, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Pitcairn, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Saint Helena, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Spain, Sri Lanka, St. Pierre and Miquelon, Sudan, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Turks and Caicos, Tuvalu, Uganda, Ukraine, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Vietnam, Wallis and Futuna, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe
Date posted: 01 Mar, 2022

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Call Updates

Aug 31, 2022 3:52:39 PM


An overview of the evaluation results (flash call info) is now available under the "Topic conditions and documents" section on the topic page.

Jun 1, 2022 9:41:15 AM


Call HORIZON-JTI-CLEANH2-2022-1 has closed on the 31 May 2022 17:00:00 Brussels time.

79 proposals have been submitted.                                                                                                        

The breakdown per topic is:


  •  HORIZON-JTI-CLEANH2-2022 -01-02: 2 proposals

Evaluation results are expected to be communicated at the end of August 2022.

Mar 31, 2022 10:16:55 AM

The submission session is now available for: HORIZON-JTI-CLEANH2-2022-01-02(HORIZON-JU-RIA)

Development and validation of pressurised high temperature steam electrolysis stacks (Proton Conducting Ceramic Electrolysis)


Programme: Horizon Europe Framework Programme (HORIZON)
Type of action: HORIZON-JU-RIA HORIZON JU Research and Innovation Actions
Type of MGA: HORIZON Action Grant Budget-Based [HORIZON-AG]
Deadline model: single-stage
Planned opening date: 31 March 2022
Deadline date: 31 May 2022 17:00:00 Brussels time

Topic description

Hydrogen is stored, transported or used pressurised with variable pressures depending on user cases, e.g., between 7 and 70 bar for various industrial applications and grid injection, up to 200 bar for filling gas cylinders, as well as up to 350 and 700 bar in refuelling stations. Hydrogen compression requires energy, which negatively affects overall process efficiency and hydrogen molecule final cost. Pressurised electrolysis therefore has the potential to provide an efficient solution for delivery of pressurised hydrogen at reduced cost. It also enables a low emissions form of hydrogen production, including down to zero emissions if powered solely by renewables.

It is expected that this topic will provide breakthrough and game changing technologies for energy efficient pressurised hydrogen production using Proton Conducting Ceramic Electrolysis (PCCEL) and contributing to the overall objective of the SRIA of the Clean Hydrogen JU, namely the hydrogen production cost of 3 €/kg by 2030.

The project outcomes will pave the way for the deployment of pressurised hydrogen production units based on proton conducting electrolyte to accelerate uptake in one or more applications (for example: injection into the gas grid, onsite production at HRS, feedstock for industry, such as steel plants, refineries, chemical plants).

The project results are expected to contribute to all of the following expected outcomes:

  • Contributions to demonstration on stack level for a pressurised steam electrolysis solutions by 2025;
  • Contributing to European leadership for renewable hydrogen production based on PCCEL;
  • Solutions for pressurised hydrogen production will open new target applications (e.g. gas grid injection, HRS) contributing to defining user cases and showing the applications and benefits of the novel technologies.

Project results are expected to contribute to all of the following objectives of the Clean Hydrogen JU SRIA:

  • Reduction of CAPEX 2,000 €/(kg/d) and OPEX 130 €/(kg/d)/y (of the overall system costs when also taking into account compression;
  • Ensure circularity by design for materials and for production processes, minimising the life-cycle environmental footprint of electrolysers;
  • Achieving a current density of 0.5 A/cm2;
  • Achieving a pressure at stack level of at least 5 bar;
  • Faradaic efficiency above 90% at operational pressure and temperature.

For High Temperature Steam Electrolysis (HTSE), the Protonic Conducting Ceramic Electrolysis (PCCEL) operating at 500-700 °C can be a promising solution. PCCEL technology has emerged over the past decade with strong development in materials and cells research, while activities towards stack and system development have been marginal. There have been previous FCH JU projects dedicated to pressurised HTSE at small scale for PCCEL. For instance, pressurised PCCEL electrolysis cells with tubular geometry are showing high Faradaic efficiency (> 90%) and stable performance at 600°C up to 3 bar. These previous activities highlighted the needs for more research efforts directed to the optimisation of components, cells and stacks to improve current density and stability in pressurised operation for both technologies. Furthermore, additional efforts should focus on system integration and on defining optimal boundary operations for dedicated user cases in order to maximise the efficiency of the integrated scenarios (e.g. taking into account thermal integration and possible side stream products). This opens for the development of novel and/or improved systems concepts, where the benefits of pressurised electrolysis should be leveraged for deployment in large-scale centralised systems with economies of scale, hydrogen distribution to end uses, as well as distributed systems located at demand centres.

Proposals for this topic should set out a credible pathway to contribute to the development and validation of pressurised PCCEL with technological breakthroughs aiming at designing and operating a stack at an optimal pressure with eventual assistance of a downstream compression process to reach higher delivery pressure. Electrochemical compression in the stack can also be considered. To tackle these challenges, the proposals should focus on system and stack design, as well as fabrication, assembly and testing of stack in the conditions suitable for the relevant business cases as follows:

  • System design should be defined based on an optimal integration of the PCCEL in selected application(s) while taking into account the operating limits of the PCCEL. This activity will entail defining optimal operating pressure of the stack and system to balance electricity consumption and heat demand at nominal capacity;
  • A techno-economic evaluation of the PCCEL integrated in given application(s) will provide the Levelised Cost of Hydrogen (LCOH) of the pressurised PCCEL system taking into account economy of scale and will be used to evaluate the impacts of the various modes of operation. (e.g. atmospheric PCCEL + pressurisation afterwards, pressurised PCCEL, electrochemical compression in the PCCEL, and combination of modes) Comparing the technology with e.g. other alkaline and PEM electrolysers, operating in pressurised mode using similar boundary limits should also provide insights into relevant business models. The proposals should furthermore aim at reaching the capital costs below 2,000 €/(kg/d);
  • The project should also compare the efficiency gains between pressurised electrolyser and unpressurised with compressor for various system sizes and propose the most efficient solution;
  • A stack designed for high current density (0.5 A/cm2), should be successfully operated over one long term test of at least 2,000 hrs and 4,000 hours of aggregated testing time in relevant pressurised operating conditions at a minimum pressure of 5 bar and conforming to the envisaged use case;
  • Degradation mechanisms and boundary operation of the stack and its components should be identified and measured with respect to pressure, temperature, load, in stationary and transient conditions;
  • Modelling should be used to support the development of cells and/or stacks;
  • The stack(s) should be tested at scale of minimum 5 kW; the considered pressure will be selected in relation to the targeted use case (s) to minimise energy loss;
  • The stack should be operated in representative conditions to evaluate its efficiency, as well as its durability during a 2,000 hours long term test. This should include pressurisation/depressurisation cycles;
  • The applicants should provide thorough analysis of safety aspects, such as safety shut-off, and focus on establishing smooth operation modes including pressurisation and depressurisation.

Consortia are expected to build on the expertise from the European research and industrial community to ensure broad impact by addressing several of the aforementioned items.

Proposals should demonstrate how they go beyond the ambition of WINNER and GAMER projects[1] and be complementary to them.

Proposals are expected to address sustainability and circularity aspects.

Activities developing test protocols and procedures for the performance and durability assessment of electrolysers and fuel cell components proposals should foresee a collaboration mechanism with JRC (see section "Collaboration with JRC"), in order to support EU-wide harmonisation. Test activities should adopt the already published EU harmonised testing protocols to benchmark performance and quantify progress at programme level.

Activities are expected to start at TRL 2 and achieve TRL 4 by the end of the project.

The conditions related to this topic are provided in the chapter of the Clean Hydrogen JU 2022 Annual Work Plan and in the General Annexes to the Horizon Europe Work Programme 2021–2022 which apply mutatis mutandis.


Call Updates

Aug 31, 2022 3:52:39 PM


An overview of the evaluation results (flash call info) is now available under the "Topic conditions and documents" section on the topic page.

Jun 1, 2022 9...

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