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Siemens Energy and Air Liquide inaugurate gigawatt-scale electrolyzer plant

Siemens Energy and Air Liquide inaugurate gigawatt-scale electrolyzer plant
On November 8, 2023, in the presence of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (centre), Christian Bruch (left), CEO of Siemens Energy, and François Jackow, the CEO of French joint venture partner Air Liquide, pushed the start button for the series production of this crucial technology component for hydrogen production. Among the guests at the event were German Economics Minister Robert Habeck, French Industry Minister Roland Lescure, and other high-ranking representatives of German and French politics (photo courtesy Siemens Energy).

In Germany, Siemens Energy and France-headed global industrial gases major Air Liquide have held the official inauguration of a new gigawatt-scale production plant for electrolyzers in Berlin. With the new factory, Siemens Energy is making electrolyzers a mass product, laying the foundation for the ramp-up of the hydrogen economy.

With the new factory, Siemens Energy is making electrolyzers a mass product, laying the foundation for the ramp-up of the hydrogen economy.

Gigawatt-scale production capacity

For hydrogen to become the game changer for a climate-neutral future, it must be available in large quantities and at competitive prices. This requires serial production of cost-effective and scalable electrolyzers.

With an annual production capacity of one gigawatt, Siemens Energy and Air Liquide expect a ramp-up to at least three gigawatts by 2025 with the potential for more.

In comparison: with an installed electrolysis capacity of three GW, an average of 300,000 tonnes of green hydrogen can be produced per year when operated with renewable energies.

Using this green hydrogen to replace fossil fuels would avoid the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of a major German city with around 260,000 inhabitants like Aachen.

There is no energy transition without green molecules. With today’s opening and the start of gigawatt-scale production of electrolyzers, we are launching the next step for the commercialization of this vital technology. Now we need to agree on a viable business model with a balanced risk and reward profile to turn the smallest molecule into a big success story, said Christian Bruch, CEO, Siemens Energy.

PEM technology

At the Siemens Energy site in Berlin, the complete infrastructure of an existing production facility and its experienced workforce can be used.

Olaf Scholz takes a tour of Siemens Energy’s new electrolyzer factory in Berlin (photo courtesy Siemens Energy).

New production lines for the electrolyzers were set up on 2,000 square meters at a cost of around EUR 30 million. The new plant will supply stacks – the heart of electrolyzers – for a wide range of customers, serving the fast-growing market.

These stacks are based on proton exchange membrane (PEM) technology that is particularly good at following intermittent renewable energy supply.

Compared to other hydrogen technologies, PEM electrolyzers enable gigawatt capacities to be brought to market with lower material, manpower, and space requirements, making them the ideal enablers of a fast ramp-up.

Once produced, the assembly of the stacks to be implemented in electrolyzer projects will be carried closer to the project sites, contributing further to the cost-effectiveness of the solution.

Strategic Partnership

The strategic Franco-German partnership benefits from the expertise of both Groups and from a portfolio of hydrogen projects combining both Air Liquide and Siemens Energy’s pipelines.

Robert Habeck (left), Christian Bruch, Olaf Scholz, François Jackow, and Roland Lescure (photo courtesy Siemens Energy).

In Europe, a number of low-carbon and renewable large-scale hydrogen projects are already under development: near Port-Jérôme, France, the Air Liquide Normand’Hy 200 MW electrolyzer project is under construction, avoiding the emission of 250,000 tonnes of CO2 per year.

The Normand’Hy project will be one of the first to be supplied from Siemens Energy’s new electrolyzer production facility in the framework of the joint venture between Air Liquide and Siemens Energy.

Siemens Energy is working on several other large-scale electrolyzer projects, such as in Kassø, Denmark, or FlagshipONE in Örnsköldsvik, Sweden, which will provide hydrogen for the synthesis of eFuels for shipping.

The mass production of industrial-scale electrolyzers is essential to making competitive renewable hydrogen a reality. Our joint venture with Siemens Energy brings the best of our respective expertise together and allows us to offer the most-suited products to the market. This state-of-the-art technology will soon be operated at the Trailblazer electrolyzer in Oberhausen, with a major scale upcoming for the Normand’Hy electrolyzer project. More than ever, hydrogen is proving to be a key element of the transition to a low-carbon society, said François Jackow, CEO of Air Liquide Group.

The German Federal Ministry for Research and Development has provided financial support for the research work on the Berlin production facility as part of the SEGIWA project, which in turn is part of the H2Giga flagship project.

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