GM may be focusing heavily on the development of new battery-electric vehicles and related Ultium technologies, but it’s also looking into new opportunities around hydrogen fuel cells. Now, The General has announced that it will collaborate with Nel Hydrogen US, a subsidiary of Nel ASA, to pursue cost-effective hydrogen fuel production via a new joint development agreement.
Founded in 1927 and based in Oslo, Norway, Nel ASA is focused on the production, storage, and distribution of hydrogen from renewable energy sources. Nel was the first company in the world with a fully automated alkaline electrolyzer production line, creating an opportunity to industrialize the production of its PEM electrolyzer equipment. Meanwhile, GM has made great strides in fuel cell technology development, thus offering substantial synergies with Nel’s PEM platform.
“Adding Nel as a strategic collaborator is an important step to help us commercialize fuel cell technology,” said GM executive director, Global HydroTec, Charles Freese. “Electrolysis is key to creating consistent, clean sources of hydrogen to power fuel cells.”
The Nel PEM electrolyzer works on the same principle as a hydrogen fuel cell, but in reverse. While GM’s HydroTec fuel cells combine hydrogen and oxygen to create electricity and water, the PEM electrolyzer uses electricity and water to produce hydrogen and oxygen.
“Nel has some of the most promising electrolyzer technology to help develop clean hydrogen infrastructure, and we believe our HydroTec fuel cell IP can help them get closer to scale,” Freese added.
In exchange for its hydrogen fuel cell IP and development work, Nel will compensate GM on an ongoing basis and pay a license following successful commercialization of the end product. The license will be dependent on how much of the end product is based on GM technology.
“An automated production concept is key when scaling up and driving down cost on electrolyzer technology,” said Nel CEO, Håkon Volldal. “By utilizing the combined expertise of both companies, it will help to more quickly develop a green hydrogen technology that is competitive with fossil fuels.”