PEM Co-Develops Process Route for Electrochemical Cells

Graphic of the "Future Cluster Hydrogen" Copyright: © RWTH Aachen University

The chair "Production Engineering of E-Mobility Components" (PEM) of RWTH Aachen University has joined forces with numerous partners from research and industry in the "HyInnoCells" project. It is part of the "Future Cluster Hydrogen" which unites numerous H2 projects along the entire value chain in order to establish a hydrogen model region. The aim of "HyInnoCells", meanwhile, is to develop a process route for the production and coating of porous structures for electrochemical cells, especially for electrolysers for water electrolysis. Future-oriented technologies such as additive manufacturing are to be used in this process.

Responsible for mass transport and conductivity

Porous layers play a significant role in electrolyzers because they regulate mass transport to and from the ion exchange membrane where catalysis takes place. At the same time, they provide the electrical conductivity to transport the appropriate charge carriers to the catalytically active boundary layer. On the one hand, the porous transport structures must therefore have permeability to allow good mass transport through the shell. On the other hand, sufficient mechanical stability is required to provide adequate support for the inner membranes in the installation situation. Since these functional layers are similar to those of a fuel cell, the PEM experts are researching the transferability of electrolyzer production to fuel cell production in order to identify synergies between the two production processes.

3D printing and rapid prototyping

"HyInnoCells" will develop porous layers that protect against corrosion and reduce contact resistance. In addition, the technology for joining the various layers in the sandwich structure is to be optimized and the use of precious metals minimized to reduce costs. To this end, the players are exploring non-precious metal alternatives for both the substrates and the coatings that meet the requirements for contact resistance, corrosion resistance and catalytic activity. The advantages of additive manufacturing will be exploited in a "rapid prototyping" approach in which numerous porous, coated structures made of promising materials and material combinations will be produced in a short time to characterize their properties. The structures with the best properties will then be able to be manufactured in larger quantities using conventional manufacturing processes.

In addition to numerous other hydrogen research projects, "HyInnoCells" is also networked with "HyInnoPEM" where the PEM chair is also involved.



+49 1515 0049053


  Logo of the Federal Ministry of Research

The project

  • "HyInnoCells": Flexible production of electrochemical cells

Research objectives

  • Development of a process route for the fabrication and coating of porous structures for electrochemical cells
  • Production of porous coatings that protect against corrosion and reduce contact resistance
  • Optimization of the technique for joining different layers in the sandwich structure
  • Minimizing the use of precious metals to reduce costs

Research and project partners

PEM of RWTH Aachen University
Chair of Digital Additive Production (DAP) (RWTH Aachen University)
Institute of Energy and Climate Research (IEK) (Forschungszentrum Jülich)
Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology (IPT)
Precors GmbH
Bender GmbH & Co. KG
MeliCon GmbH
GKN Sinter Metals Filters GmbH
Sigma Materials GmbH (German) (associated partner)


  • 10/01/2021 through 09/30/2024

Project management

Projektträger Jülich (PtJ)

Funding code

  • 03ZU1115JA


Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)