Clean Power Hydrogen (CPH2), a UK-based green hydrogen technology and manufacturing company, has licensed an Irish manufacturer to construct 2GW of its patented Membrane-Free Electrolysers (MFEs) over a 20-year period.

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CPH2, based in Doncaster, northern England, aims to build 4GW of the MFEs annually by 2030 — 1GW at its own facility, with another 3GW manufactured under licence by other companies.

GHFG — a joint venture between Dublin-based renewable power producer Alternus Energy and Eric Whelan, CEO of Irish PV developer Soleirtricity — will manufacture the electrolysers at a new facility in Ireland that will begin production next year. They will then be deployed at Alternus solar projects.

“Under the agreement, CPH2 will receive an upfront licence fee, and thereafter, a technology fee per unit, followed by service and maintenance licences during the unit’s life,” CPH2 said in a statement.

“The licensing of the CPH2 proprietary technology offer the company the potential to significantly increase revenue in the short term without the need for additional capital expenditure. Given the business model’s potential low cost and short lead time, the directors believe it is an ideal opportunity to establish market share and improve market penetration on a global basis by using the high margin, low capex licensing strategy to fund further R&D.”

Whelan, who is also CEO of GHFG, adds: “Through this joint venture, GHFG will be responsible for the production of electrolysers to match the deployment of new Alternus solar projects where the addition of green hydrogen generation makes sense. It will also provide more direct control over the supply chain.

“Green hydrogen installations will allow Alternus to diversify into additional revenue streams from its growing market penetration in key markets across Europe and beyond.”

CPH2, which was founded in 2012, has revealed few details about its unique membrane-free electrolyser, but has said it is scaleable, is used in conjunction with cryogenic separation “to deliver pure hydrogen and pure oxygen as separate gases”, requires a very low concentration of alkaline electrolyte, does not require precious metals and is made from “readily available, reusable or recyclable materials”. The English company also claims that it is “the most cost-effective alternative to PEM electrolysers”.

Its website says the MFE is “simple to build, simple to operate and simple to maintain”.

“It wasn’t easy to achieve and has required a huge amount of engineering effort, stubbornness and many years of development,” it states. ‘Membrane-free’ allows green hydrogen to be produced efficiently using intermittent renewable electricity with no rapid drop off in performance that is associated with membrane technologies. It also results in a largely mechanically passive process with a much wider tolerance of operational conditions providing longevity and much simpler maintenance procedures.”

Membranes are used in the four main types of electrolyser — alkaline, proton-exchange membrane [PEM], anion-exchange membrane and solid-oxide — to separate the anode and cathode electrolyte loops and avoid unwanted secondary chemical reactions, while also acting as a driving force in the electrolysis process.