PFAS-free electrolysis and fuel cells

Hahn-Schickard develops the central components for fuel cells and electrolyzers free of environmentally harmful chemicals

Fuel cells and electrolysers are key technologies for an emission-free economy and society of tomorrow. Fuel cells can be used to power heavy goods traffic, large ships or aircraft without emissions. Electrolysis provides the green hydrogen needed for this and also enables steel, fertilizers and other chemicals to be produced sustainably. Both technologies use polymer membranes based on PFAS, or perfluorinated alkyl compounds. PFAS are suspected of posing a significant risk to humans and the environment and are thus on potential lists of banned chemicals.

Since 2018, Hahn-Schickard has therefore been working on PFAS-free fuel cells and electrolyzers. Because PFAS-free alternatives are not only more environmentally friendly, but also more efficient in perspective, Hahn-Schickard has built up competencies ranging from polymer development to membrane electrode units.

Polymer development of PFAS alternatives

Polymer development already lays the foundation for the subsequent efficiency and durability of the membrane and electrodes. This highly complex field is therefore being pursued with great effort at Hahn-Schickard. The aim is to increase the selectivity of membranes. However, the durability, mechanical integrity and processability of the polymers must also already be considered.

PFAS-free membranes and electrodes

At Hahn-Schickard, polymer development can be transferred directly into membranes and membrane electrode assembly. This is a considerable advantage, as it allows the performance and service life of the fuel and electrolytic cell to be analyzed directly and the results fed back into polymer development. Hahn-Schickard is also developing membrane concepts for the PFAS-free polymers, e.g. composite membranes based on nanofibers and PFAS-free polymers. Hahn-Schickard also develops electrodes based on PFAS-free polymers to ensure high efficiency, performance and lifetime.