Coating Services – a Perfect Fit for the Hydrogen Industry

Feb 6, 2023

VP Coating Services, Carina Höglund Ph.D., shares her insights on the role of Coating Services in the evolving hydrogen industry. With more than 15 years of experience working in the field of thin film physics, Carina highlights the significance of flexibility when facing the sustainability transition.

The rapidly evolving hydrogen industry

These past years, we at Impact Coatings have seen an increased interest in PVD (Physical Vapor Deposition) coating solutions from the hydrogen industry. This is an industry that is expected to grow exponentially over the next decades, posing some interesting challenges for our customers and us. Regions like the USA, Europe, South Korea, Japan, and China have already started scaling their production and many players are now looking at PVD coatings as part of the next generation solutions for green energy and clean mobility applications.

Why PVD coatings?

It all comes down to reliable industrial production and performance parameters.

Proton Exchange Membrane Technology, also called PEM, is a leading technology commonly used in the hydrogen industry. It is used in water electrolysis to produce hydrogen, and in fuel cells for mobility and stationary applications. Both PEM electrolyzers and fuel cells contain metal plates that need high-performing and cost-efficient coatings – like PVD coatings – to become successful and commercially viable.

This is where we at Impact Coatings have a head start. Our PVD coating solutions for hydrogen applications have been available for more than 15 years. This involves our coating as a service offer, better known as Coating Services, as well as sales of industry ready PVD coating machines.

PVD coated fuel cell metal plate.

What’s important to remember is that this is a big technology shift for the energy and mobility sectors, and exact ramp up scenarios and volumes are continuously difficult to predict. There are also many dependencies in the value chains and the coatings are always somewhere in the middle.

The majority of our hydrogen solutions customers lack knowledge about coatings before getting in touch with us and need support from an experienced team to prepare for industrial production from the first sample. We do this by

  • Defining the most suitable coating for the specific application
  • Verifying performance and quality before scaling volumes
  • Mitigating technology risks before capital investment

Accelerated time to market with full flexibility

When all parameters have been set and verified in our Coating Services Center, the customer can choose to continue to produce the coatings through Coating Services with our experienced team. Volumes can vary from small to high, and production can be stopped or accelerated according to customer needs. This is particularly valuable for ramp up scenarios with complex supply chains where many suppliers ramp up production in parallel.

Customers also have the possibility to switch to In-house production by purchasing coating systems with the qualified process for full control of the production process.

We also offer managed services, where our teams run the systems at the customers’ chosen premises.

The complete offer allows for a problem-free production start-up and onboarding of the customer’s personnel. The customer can always continue to use Coating Services as a cloned second source, for instance, to handle volume peaks.

All of this means full control from a customer perspective. No capital needs to be locked up at an early stage and our complete offering allows accelerated time to market and easy scaling with market demands.

Learn more about the Coating Services process and how we can help you verify and develop the perfect coating solution for your application here!

Introducing Stefan Dreger, President EMEA, Hydrogen Solutions

Carina Höglund, Ph.D.
VP Coating Services