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Neste acquires stake in PtX developer Sunfire

Finland-headed oil refiner, renewable fuels and chemicals producer Neste Oyj, has announced that it has acquired a minority stake in the German cleantech company Sunfire GmbH. Sunfire is a leading developer of high-temperature electrolysis technology.

Neste has acquired a minority stake in the Germany-based Sunfire GmbH, a leading developer of high-temperature electrolysis and Power-to-X (PtX) technologies. The Power-to-Liquids (PtL) demonstration plant in Dresden (photo courtesy Sunfire).

Founded in 2010, Sunfire GmbH develops and produces high-temperature solid oxide electrolyzer cells (SOEC) and high-temperature solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC) based on solid oxide cell technology and is a global market leader for commercial SOEC.

High-temperature electrolysis generates hydrogen from steam using renewable electricity. The use of steam instead of liquid water for electrolysis significantly increases the efficiency of the process and is specifically well suited for industrial applications where waste process heat is already available.

According to Sunfire, the main benefit of steam electrolysis is that the enthalpy of vaporization can be achieved without the use of expensive electrical energy. Using waste heat such as that generated by industrial processes makes it possible to increase the efficiency of the steam electrolyzer to over 80 percent.

Over the past decade, Neste has transformed itself from a regional oil refining company into a global leader in renewable and circular solutions through breakthrough innovation. As part of Neste’s growth strategy, we continue to focus on innovation with the aim to develop the existing businesses and build new growth business platforms. One of these fields of innovation is Power-to-X, said  Neste’s President and CEO Peter Vanacker.

Sunfire’s patented technology allows the production of renewable hydrogen as well as the direct conversion of water and carbon dioxide (CO2) into raw material for petrochemical products.

The key technology in the Power-to-X platform is electrolysis. It enables the production of emission-free renewable hydrogen and conversion of CO2 into fuels, chemicals, and materials. Thus it transforms a problem into a solution. Sunfire’s highly efficient technology and world-class expertise in Power-to-X, together with our proven track record in commercializing new sustainable technologies, provides an excellent basis for further development of the Power-to-X solutions, Peter Vanacker said.

In addition to Neste’s equity investment in Sunfire, both companies will work together to demonstrate the production of renewable hydrogen at Neste’s refinery with Sunfire’s high-temperature electrolyzer. The demonstration is an important milestone in the commercialization of Sunfire’s technology and supports Neste in developing new sustainable solutions for Neste’s current business and future growth.

Having the world’s number one provider of renewable fuels at our side will strengthen our position as a leading supplier of Power-to-X solutions for green synthetic fuel and hydrogen production. The partnership with Neste is in line with our strategy to engage with the best companies in order to supply renewable energy to industrial value chains. Neste will provide Sunfire with excellent insight into renewable fuel markets and deep expertise in engineering, procurement, and construction, said Nils Aldag, Managing Director at Sunfire.

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