Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) and EVOLOH Inc. have wrapped up a collaborative research project focused on improving the current technology used in electrolyzer manufacturing. The project’s success could potentially reduce the costs associated with producing clean renewable hydrogen by around 25%, making it a more affordable option.

EVOLOH’s anion exchange membrane (AEM) electrolyzer technology, known as Nautilus™ series, is made with easily accessible materials and utilizes a roll-to-roll manufacturing process. This method streamlines the supply chain, reduces costs, and speeds up the production of electrolyzer stacks, which are essential components in splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen. The project managed to increase hydrogen production efficiency by 15% while also extending the lifetime of the equipment compared to traditional methods.

Jawaad Malik, SoCalGas’ chief strategy and sustainability officer, emphasized the importance of innovative projects like this in driving down electrolyzer system costs and production time. These advancements are crucial in making clean renewable hydrogen production more competitive with conventional energy sources to meet the rising demand.

SoCalGas’ Research, Development, and Demonstration (RD&D) Program provided funding and technical support for the project, particularly in developing high-speed coating methods for AEM electrolyzers. The compact, modular design of the electrolyzer stacks allows for scalability up to 24 megawatts each, making them suitable for large-scale industrial applications.

Dr. Jimmy Rojas, EVOLOH’s CEO, highlighted the current challenges in electrolyzer manufacturing and hydrogen production due to high costs, transportation difficulties, and problematic supply chains associated with existing technologies. By utilizing renewable energy to power their technology, hydrogen can serve as a versatile, flexible, and carbon-free energy source for various industries, including heavy transport, steelmaking, and long-duration energy storage.

The next phase involves scaling up the technology at EVOLOH’s new manufacturing Center of Excellence in Lowell, Massachusetts, with a target of producing 3.75GW per year by 2025 in electrolyzer stacks and up to 15GW by 2027. Additionally, MW-scale testing will commence at EVOLOH’s headquarters in Santa Clara, California later this year.

SoCalGas’ RD&D Program continues to play a vital role in advancing innovative products and technologies that support decarbonization efforts throughout the natural gas value chain, offering a diverse range of cleaner energy sources to consumers.