Industrialization of electrolysers and fuel cells

Electrolysers and fuel cells are key technologies for the climate-neutral transformation of our energy system. They enable the production of green hydrogen from renewable energy, the storage of surplus energy, the efficient conversion of hydrogen into electricity and the reduction of dependence on fossil fuels. However, the costs for the production of electrolysers and fuel cells are still very high – due to both expensive materials and the complex construction of the stacks. 

Solutions and services from Fraunhofer UMSICHT: Development of new systems and materials for electrolysers and fuel cells

This is where Fraunhofer UMSICHT comes in: We are working on new materials and systems for electrolysers and fuel cells to enable the industrialization of production. From catalysts and membranes to electrodes, we have all stack components in our sights. Specifically, our services include

  • Electro-catalyst development for hydrogen and co-electrolysis as well as scale-up
  • Bipolar plates/foils and electrode development 
  • Sealing-free stack concepts
  • High-pressure electrocatalysis 
  • Development, production and testing of (electro)catalysts, cells and stacks
  • Development of novel electro-organic and bioelectrochemical reactions
  • Analysis and characterization of catalysts, electrodes, bipolar plates/foils, cells and membranes 
  • Process development as well as construction and operation of pilot plants (batch and flow-through operation) 
  • Technology evaluation, system analysis and sustainability assessment 

Unique selling point: Green hydrogen from a single source

What makes us special: We supply green hydrogen from a single source and offer stack development from the material to the complete system on a demonstration scale. This includes the production of new catalysts containing precious metals as well as precious metal-free catalysts and the retrofitting of existing catalyst systems. In addition, we develop bipolar plates and electrodes tailored to the respective application. We rely on conductive thermoplastic-based foils that are produced cost-effectively in a continuous roll-to-roll process and enable stacks to be welded and built without seals.

How to work with us

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You see a need for research or development or have become aware of a promising Fraunhofer technology: For example, your company wants to bring a material or product innovation to the market, have an internal production process evaluated and improved or respond to an anticipated market demand as quickly as possible. Then it makes sense to commission our institute directly with the development of solutions for your challenge. Together, we will clarify the framework conditions for how we can successfully advance your company with our expertise and infrastructure. The size of your company is irrelevant: our teams support small companies just as professionally with research and development services as clients from SMEs or companies that are listed on the stock exchange.


Interested? Then write us!

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Several partners along a value chain work together on a solution – usually within the framework of public funding. We can build on a large network from industry, research, society and the Fraunhofer Institutes. We are experienced both in the selection of funding programs and in project applications, contribute innovative ideas to the process and then shape the transfer to the market together with you and other partners.


Interested? Then write us!

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As with every new collaboration, things are unclear at the beginning: How does a collaboration with Fraunhofer actually work and can Fraunhofer help me at all? Will Fraunhofer charge my company for its research and development work and who actually owns the results of the collaboration? The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft has already compiled some general answers to Frequently Asked Questions. However, our projects are as individual as your technological challenges. Therefore, if you have any questions, please contact us!


Questions? Then write us!

Reference projects relating to the industrialization of the production of electrolysers and fuel cells



Stack designs for fuel cells

The "BiFoilStack" project focuses on the development of stack designs for NT-PEM fuel cells with novel compound bipolar foils from the calendering process for the target application "commercial vehicles".



New fully welded
bipolar battery

Space-saving, scalable and seal-free: Innovative, fully welded polymer-based bipolar battery for mobile and stationary applications increases energy density, avoids the risk of fire, and is cost-effective to manufacture.



Mass production of graphite bipolar plates

The project researches the development of continuous production of bipolar plates using roll-to-roll processes. Within the scope of the project, the world's largest bipolar plate has already been developed and produced.



Develop materials for future hydrogen technologies

The cooperation platform "Materials for future hydrogen technologies" – MAT4HY.NRW for short – brings together research institutions and companies to develop cost-effective materials for hydrogen electrolysis.


P2H compounds

Polymer-based electrical heating components


The "Power2Heat Compounds" project focuses on the material and product development of polymer-based panel heating elements and heatable heat-shrinkable tubing.



Compound bipolar foils for electrochemical reactors

The "PolyFoleR" project focuses on systematic map-based material development for compound bipolar foils for electrochemical reactors using membrane electrolysis and PEM fuel cells as examples.

Further information

Catalysts for industrial use

to the website

Electrically conductive polymers

to the website

Material and component development for electrolysis processes

to the product sheet

"We want to drive forward decarbonization in the transport sector and promote innovation in methanol production": Dr.-Ing. Norman Kienzle on the "Leuna 100" project

to the interview from 26.01.2024

Inauguration of the world’s first pilot plant for the cost-efficient production of green methanol

to the press release from 20.11.2023

From basic research to industrial application: Why marketable concepts of catalysts, electrodes and cells are still in short supply – and what needs to change

to the press release from 14.04.2021