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Sunfire to commercialize alkaline electrolysis

Sunfire to commercialize alkaline electrolysis
Photo courtesy of Sunfire

In January 2021, Sunfire added pressurized alkaline electrolysis to its product portfolio, setting the course for rapid scaling. Sunfire has now announced the commercialization of its technology. In a first step, Sunfire will install a large-scale alkaline electrolyzer production site with a capacity of 500 megawatts (MW) per year in Germany by 2023. A further expansion to more than 1 gigawatt (GW) per year is already being planned as well.

The final investment decision should be made upon completion of site selection. The decision is subject to obtaining the necessary financing.

“Since we founded Sunfire in 2010, we have believed in electrolysis to be a key technology for achieving climate neutrality. We have worked hard to develop a highly efficient and reliable technology in numerous demonstration projects. Now it is time to fully tap into its potential. We will be expanding our annual production capacity of pressurized alkaline electrolyzers from 40 MW/year to at least 500 MW/year by 2023,” says Sunfire CEO Nils Aldag. 

With an increasing number of countries and corporations committing to climate neutrality, the German company is experiencing enormous demand. 

“Ambitious regulatory initiatives to cut CO2 emissions in all sectors of the economy are fostering a rapid growth of the global hydrogen market until 2030. Hence, we are already planning a further scaling to more than 1 GW/year,” Aldag says.

Electrolysis is key technology to produce renewable hydrogen

Electrolysis is the key technology to produce renewable hydrogen. As raw material and energy carrier, hydrogen is set to become the game-changer in decarbonizing carbon-intensive industries. These include the steel and chemical industries, refineries, and aviation. 

On the road to climate neutrality, numerous member states of the European Union (EU) have recognized the potential of renewable hydrogen and launched national hydrogen strategies, pushing for a rapid expansion of hydrogen production capacity. While the total capacity of installed plants is still in the triple-digit megawatt range, demand in the EU alone is expected to rise to 40 GW by 2030. Recently, the International Energy Agency (IEA) calculated that by then 850 GW of electrolysis capacity will be needed worldwide to reach climate neutrality by 2045.

Sunfire has been best known for its innovative high-temperature electrolyzers (SOEC) and is considered the market leader in this segment. 

“Thanks to its unsurpassed efficiency, SOEC will be the preferred electrolysis technology in various industries,” Aldag says. 

Before Sunfireโ€™s SOEC technology can be used at industrial scale, it needs to be further developed at full speed. 

“In order to satisfy the large demand of our customers already today, we will be expanding our production capacity for alkaline electrolysis,” he says. “We are ready for hydrogen projects in the 100 MW scale!”

The robust pressurized alkaline technology has proven itself in dozens of industrial projects over several decades around the globe. To capitalize on this advantage, in January 2021, Sunfire acquired Swiss alkaline electrolyzer company Industrie Haute Technology SA (IHT), which has more than 70 years of global operating experience.