ACT Challenge: Reducing Material Degradation in Solid Oxide Electrolyzer Cells (SOEC) for Green Hydrogen Production

$20,000 USD

Challenge overview


The aviation industry has recently set a target of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, which is an incredibly difficult challenge given the structure of the aviation industry and the energy density of jet fuel. The Aviation Climate Taskforce (ACT), the Seeker for this Challenge, was launched by 10 global airlines to accelerate breakthroughs across a portfolio of emerging decarbonization technologies by 10 years or more. One such technology is the use of solid oxide electrolyzer cells (SOEC) to produce green hydrogen for the production of synthetic jet fuel. Although potentially more efficient than other electrolysis technologies, SOEC suffers from material degradation that make it expensive to maintain and operate. ACT is seeking solutions to mitigate degradation in SOEC.

This is an Ideation Challenge with a guaranteed award for at least one submitted solution.



The aviation industry is responsible for just 2% of global CO2 emissions but still amounts to nearly a billion metric tons of CO2 released. With increased electrification of other carbon sources, this percentage will rise unless action is taken. The aviation industry has set a target of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 but considering the structure of the industry and the energy density of jet fuel this is an incredibly difficult challenge. The Aviation Climate Taskforce (ACT) was launched by 10 global airlines to accelerate breakthroughs across a portfolio of emerging decarbonization technologies by 10 years or more.

One route to decarbonization is the use of power-to-liquid synthetic jet fuel (Jet A-1) produced using syngas derived from green hydrogen and captured carbon dioxide. Green hydrogen is produced by the electrolysis of water typically using one of three electrolysis technologies: alkaline electrolysis, solid oxide electrolyzer cells (SOEC), and polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) electrolysis. SOEC is potentially more efficient than other electrolysis technologies but suffers from material degradation issues such as delamination at the anode and nickel sintering at the cathode that make it expensive to maintain and operate. ACT is looking for ideas and solutions to mitigate the degradation and corrosions that are common in SOEC. New designs or substitution of materials can both be considered. ACT is interested in supporting further research in this work and follow-on funding may be available for the most promising solutions.

This is an Ideation Challenge, which has the following unique features:

  • There is a guaranteed award.  The award(s) will be paid to the best submission(s) as solely determined by the Seeker. The total payout will be $20,000, with at least one award being no smaller than $5,000 and no award being smaller than $2,500.
  • The Solvers are not required to transfer exclusive intellectual property rights to the Seeker.  Rather, by submitting a proposal, the Solver grants to the Seeker a royalty-free, perpetual, and non-exclusive license to use any information included in this proposal, including for promotional purposes.

Submissions to this Challenge must be received by 11:59 PM (US Eastern Time) on 12-Dec-2022.
Late submissions will not be considered.

After the Challenge deadline, the Seeker will complete the review process and make a decision with regards to the Winning Solution(s). All Solvers that submit a proposal will be notified on the status of their submissions; however, no detailed evaluation of individual submissions will be provided.



Aviation Climate Taskforce (ACT) is a non-profit research organization that tackles the challenge of aviation decarbonization.  ACT will accelerate breakthroughs in emerging decarbonization technologies that are critical to the helping the sector achieve net zero. Launched in October 2021, ACT brings together 10 global airlines, including Air Canada, Air France-KLM Group, American Airlines, Cathay Pacific Airways, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue Airways, Lufthansa Group, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, and Virgin Atlantic and Boston Consulting Group. ACT will seek to drive technological innovation and accelerate the R&D lifecycle, starting with mid-term solutions such as power-to-liquid synthetic fuels. It will take a portfolio approach and gradually expand its scope to include additional technologies.


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What is a Wazoku Crowd Ideation™ Challenge?

A Wazoku Crowd Ideation™ Challenge is a broad question formulated to obtain access to new ideas, similar to a global brainstorm for producing a breakthrough idea or market survey which may include ideas for a new product line, a new commercial application for a current product, or even a viral marketing idea to recruit new customers. Ideation™ Challenge submissions are typically about two written pages, and Seekers receive a non-exclusive, perpetual license to use all submissions.

In an Ideation™ Challenge, Solvers may:

  • Submit ideas of their own
  • Submit third party information that they have the right to use and further the authority to convey that right and the right to use and develop derivative works to Seekers
  • Submit information considered in the public domain without any limitations on use

Solvers should not reveal any confidential information in their submissions. Often the Ideation™ Challenge will be followed by one or more of the other three Challenge types to further develop the ideas and gain Intellectual Property protection when the concept has been well-defined.

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