3DCeram technology pushes HyP3D high-pressure hydrogen production project

The HyP3D project, which stands for “Hydrogen Production in Pressurized 3D-Printed Solid Oxide Electrolysis Stacks“, is an innovative initiative focused on advancing the production of hydrogen under pressure through 3D-printed Solid Oxide Electrolysis (SOE) technology​​. Funded by the Clean Hydrogen Joint Undertaking of the European Union, the project is coordinated by the Institut de Recerca en Energia de Catalunya (IREC), with a notable contribution from the Nanoionics and Fuel Cells group led by Albert Tarancón​.

One of the main objectives of the HyP3D project is to overcome existing barriers by introducing disruptive, ultra-compact, and lightweight high-pressure Solid Oxide Electrolysis (SOE) stacks. These stacks are designed to convert electricity into compressed hydrogen efficiently. This hydrogen can then be utilized for gas grid injection (P2G) and on-site generation at Hydrogen Refueling Stations (HRS), aiding in the broader adoption of hydrogen as a sustainable fuel source​.

Moreover, the project seeks to address certain challenges with the aid of innovative 3D-printed SOE stacks, which boast unprecedented mechanical properties, embedded functionality, and self-tightening capabilities, thus offering a robust solution for hydrogen production under pressure​.

Schematic of how SOE cells are used in the generation of hydrogen from water

The HyP3D project is not only a leap towards enhancing hydrogen production technologies but also stands as a testament to the collaborative efforts within the European Union to foster clean energy solutions. The kick-off meeting for the project was held in Barcelona on January 17, 2023, marking the commencement of this ambitious initiative.

The HyP3D project endeavors to refine a technology that utilizes 3D-printed Solid Oxide Electrolysis Cells (SOEC) with a notable active area of 70 cm2, integrated functionalities, and the ability to achieve hydrogen production at high current densities surpassing 0.90A/cm2 (~1.3V) under conditions of 850°C and 5+ bar pressure. This approach diverges from conventional ceramic SOEC processing methods, leading to the development of high power density SOEC stacks with a power output of 2.14 kW within a compact volume of 630 cm3. Consequently, this signifies a threefold enhancement in specific power per unit volume (3.4 kW/L) and a fourfold increase in specific power per unit mass (1.10 kW/kg), surpassing existing benchmarks.

A notable collaborator in the HyP3D project is H2B2, an organization with expertise in hydrogen production systems. Their knowledge in energy efficiency and cost reduction strategies, along with their ownership of the manufacturing pilot line, is anticipated to contribute significantly to the project. The expertise of H2B2 is expected to streamline the production of HyP3D cells, thereby adding value to the project.

3D printed SOE, courtesy of 3DCeram

For the HyP3D prpject 3DCeram works on the optimization process encompassing printable feedstock, 3D printing parameters, and thermal treatments. The company is are exploring the rheological behavior and printing tests by formulating specialized slurries for Stereolithography (SLA) 3D printing using commercial Yttria-Stabilized Zirconia (YSZ) powders. The objective extends to establishing optimal procedures for producing complex-shaped parts that align with the final cell dimensions. For this endeavor, 3DCeram will utilize the C1000 Flexmatic, a semi-automatic production line. The printer’s build platform of 320 x 320 mm is in line with the industrial scope of the project, and the industrialization capabilities of the C1000 Flexmatic are deemed crucial for the project’s successful realization.

The vision of HyP3D extends beyond the creation of dense, mechanically sturdy components. Collaborators 3DCeram and IREC are invested in devising optimal printing strategies to ensure reliability and maximize production yield. The project is aligned with wider objectives of propelling the hydrogen economy forward, aiming to reduce time-to-market, lower raw material consumption by 76%, and decrease the initial investment by 42% compared to traditional manufacturing processes.

The HyP3D initiative represents a juncture where 3D printing technology intersects with hydrogen innovation, indicating a positive stride towards a sustainable energy paradigm.

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