Cheaper, sustainable electrolyzer solution enables hydrogen delivery to the world.
Hydrogen is essential to global decarbonization. When produced using renewable energy, it becomes a versatile, flexible, and carbon-free energy platform that opens up new pathways for tackling some of the thorniest climate problems—like heavy transport, steelmaking, fertilizer manufacturing, and long duration storage. But none of that can happen without a step-change improvement in the manufacture of electrolyzers, the machines that turn water and electricity into hydrogen. Today’s electrolyzers are expensive and difficult to produce, logistically onerous to transport and install, and often entangled in politically and environmentally nefarious supply chains—and still we don’t have enough of them. Thanks in large part to extraordinary government support, tens of thousands of megawatts of hydrogen projects have been announced, but only hundreds of megawatts of stacks—the core component of electrolyzers—are being produced. “Electrolyzer supply cannot meet demand,” says Jimmy Rojas, founder and CEO of EvolOH. “We cannot make stacks at anywhere near the rate that we need for hydrogen to become a platform for completely new industries.”
EvolOH, founded in 2020, is making green hydrogen accessible by revolutionizing the manufacture of electrolyzer stacks. Rojas, who holds a doctorate from Stanford in hydrogen production and energy systems, developed EvolOH’s transformational approach after recognizing the limitations of existing hydrogen production methods. Rather than any single technological innovation, EvolOH’s hardware represents a comprehensive solution to the challenge of manufacturing low-cost electrolyzers with 100% domestic supply chains. Based around an anion exchange membrane (AEM), EvolOH’s electrolyzer stacks are made using earth-abundant materials like steel, plastic and aluminum—with no need for the rare earths required by today’s predominant technologies. Paired with advanced manufacturing techniques borrowed from adjacent high-tech industries, EvolOH can lower the cost of manufacturing electrolyzer stacks by an order of magnitude—helping to drive down the cost of hydrogen production to $1 per kilogram. “We’re going to reduce the capex of new hydrogen plants so much that all developers will need to worry about is finding cheap electricity,” says Rojas.
EvolOH’s AEM technology addresses the key hurdles around today’s predominant electrolysis technologies. While alkaline electrolyzers have been the industry’s choice for decades, their cost-efficiency and reliability is undermined by logistical challenges. Alkaline electrolyzers are incredibly heavy, making them difficult to transport—and fundamentally difficult to install at scale. The newer electrolysis technology of proton exchange membranes (PEM) is more transportable, but requires the careful assembly of grossly expensive noble materials, including platinum, iridium, titanium, and ruthenium. EvolOH’s proprietary stack design adapts anion exchange membrane (AEM) technology, so that it can be used with any compatible membrane, and without the need for corrosive electrolytes, reducing the cost of the surrounding plant systems.
EvolOH’s manufacturing innovations allow for extremely high throughput, helping to transform electrolyzer stacks from jewel boxes to hardware commodities. Electrolyzers rely on catalysts to break water into oxygen and hydrogen. In part by refining the method by which the electrode is coated with a catalyst, EvolOH is able to build a scalable manufacturing process that operates at high speed. The result is a durable, compact, high-power-density electrolyzer stack, ready to meet the gigawatt-scaled near-future of the green hydrogen industry.
“Our goal is not just to commercialize a better, less expensive, electrolyzer—but to develop a better, less expensive electrolyzer manufacturing platform,” says Rojas.