News Item #1 | Characterisation and development of membranes at HydroLite

Date of activities: August/September 2020

Research: Experiments to compare the performance of the benchmark membranes and the membranes developed in ANIONE
Result: The tests show that the membranes developed in ANIONE outperform the benchmark membrane
Impact: This result is an important step towards achieving the project target of high-performing and durable membranes.

View the video on membrane development here!

The membrane is the heart of the electrolyzer systems

The high performance of membranes developed in ANIONE is crucial for the success of the project. The activities related to the development and characterization of the ANIONE membranes is led by project partner HydroLite and we therefore asked Dr Ervin Tal-Gutelmacher, CEO of HydroLite, for some more insight into the work that she and her colleagues carry out. She explains: “The goal is to better understand, investigate, develop, and finally provide and determine which type of membrane will exhibit the best performance and will be the most suitable for the ANIONE electrolyser system”.

“The membrane is the heart of the electrolyzer systems. It has a lot of functionalities, and it needs to be able to meet all criteria”, says Ervin. Among the functionalities that Ervin and her team are looking for in the membranes are: high ion conductivity, good mechanical strength, avoiding conduction of electrons and crossover of gases, withstanding the high pressure difference between the anode and cathode, and be chemically stable in alkaline, high-temperature environment for a long period of time. “Developing a membrane that holds most of those qualities will enable us to achieve an electrolyzer system that will be able to show not only a good beginning of life results, but will be able to show a long life capabilities as well” she concludes.

HydroLite scientist (Aviv Ashdot) is visually evaluating the membrane.

State-of-the-art research

According to Ervin, HydroLite’s unique combination of vast expertise in anion exchange membrane (AEM) technology devices as well as state-of-the-art research and development facilities, is ideal for this activity in ANIONE. AEM materials technology know-how, obtained by HydroLite during more than a decade of activity in the field, will be applied towards implementation of innovative anion exchange membranes within advanced AEM MEAs and stacks for electrolysis.

HydroLite scientist (Anna Kitayev) is measuring the thermal properties of the membrane using TGA system.

To validate the performance of the membranes it is important to have a clear benchmark – a baseline that the development can be compared to. The benchmark used in ANIONE is a state-of-the-art commercially available membrane. HydroLite has conducted experiments to characterise the benchmark membrane and the membranes developed in ANIONE. Among others, the membrane conductivity and thermal stability has been tested. HydroLite has verified that the conductivity of the ANIONE membrane is more stable than the conductivity of the benchmark membrane under varying relative humidity. This result is an important step towards achieving the project target of high-performing and durable membranes.

PoCelltech scientist (Alina Amel) is preparing the solution for ion exchange capacity measurements.

Bringing together the best players in the field

We asked Ervin what in her opinion is the most promising and innovative aspect of the ANIONE project: “The ANIONE project brings together the best players in the field, each of them bringing in the project their core expertise – membrane, catalysts, layer design, stack and system. Developing novel AEM materials and catalysts, implementing them in the most optimised MEA configuration and integrating within an efficient working system prototype, is in my opinion the most innovative and promising aspect of ANIONE” she says. Ervin also points to the mutual teamwork within ANIONE that will take the technology of AEM electrolyser system forward and demonstrate its potential and viability.

Discussion of results of membrane experiments (left to right: Anna Kitayev, Ervin-Tal Gutelmacher, Alina Amel).