RelHy - Innovative Solid Oxide Electrolyser Stacks for Efficient and Reliable Hydrogen Production

  • Project team:

    Patyk, Andreas (Project leader)

  • Funding:


  • Start date:


  • End date:


  • Project partners:

    CEA - Commisariat à l'Energie Atomique (Coordinator; France)
    DTU-Risoe - Danish Technical University (Denmark)
    EIFER - European Institute for Energy Research (Germany)
    ECN - Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands (Netherlands)
    TOFC - Topsoe Fuel Cell A/S (Denmark)
    Helion - Helion department H2 energy AREVA (France)

  • Research group:

    Research for Sustainable Energy Technologies

Project description

The electrolysis of water is a process for hydrogen production known for a long time. The economic relevance of electrolysis could grow due to an increase of fluctuating power generation (wind power, photovoltaics) if hydrogen was generated as a storage of excess power (re-conversion, e.g., in fuel cells). In order to improve the current efficiency, different options are under study, especially pressure electrolysis, and high temperature electrolysis (HTE). The first shall reduce the energy consumption for the compression of the generated hydrogen. In the case of HTE, a part of the electricity needed for water splitting is substituted by energetically less valuable heat.

RelHy is a project supported by the EU Commission (FP7) that develops and tests the next generation of high temperature electrolysers (HTE; Solid Oxide Electrolyser - SOE). The focus is on developing and optimizing innovative cell-, contact-, and sealing materials, on developing a stack design with longer lifetime, and on the testing of the materials and the design on a prototype.

The sustainability is analyzed accompanying the technical development. Therefor, KIT ITAS was commissioned by the RelHy partner EIFER - European Institute For Energy Research, Karlsruhe, to do an environmental Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). The subject and goal of the analysis are the identification of the technology’s ecological 'hot spots', and the assessment of the optimization potentials. Nuclear power, as well as wind power is considered when employing power supply variants.

In cooperation with the partners, a material flow model is developed that represents the essential characteristics of a future commercially used plant modelled with Aspen. For the manufacturing of the electrolyser, data from project partners are used, too. The model and the data will be up-dated in the course of the project according to the state of the technical work. The results of the up-dated LCA are fed back into the development process.


Journal Articles
Patyk, A.; Bachmann, T. M.; Brisse, A.
Life cycle assessment of H2 generation with high temperature electrolysis
2013. International journal of hydrogen energy, 38 (10), 3865–3880. doi:10.1016/j.ijhydene.2013.01.063


Dr. Andreas Patyk
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS)
P.O. Box 3640
76021 Karlsruhe

Tel.: +49 721 608-24606