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Sunfire acquires Swiss alkaline electrolysis firm IHT

Germany-based high-steam electrolyser developer Sunfire GmbH (Sunfire) has announced that it has acquired Switzerland-based alkaline electrolysis company IHT Industrie Haute Technology SA. With this acquisition, Sunfire continues to expand its green hydrogen portfolio to include high-pressure alkaline water electrolysis. The technology proves particularly suitable for use in environments where water steam is not readily available, such as the energy market or in hydrogen mobility.

Sunfire GmbH (Sunfire) has acquired Switzerland-based alkaline electrolysis company IHT Industrie Haute Technology SA. The illustrated IHT S 556 electrolyzer unit is made up of four Type S-139 cell blocks and produces approximately 760 Nm3 of hydrogen per hour (photo courtesy IHT).

The acquisition sees Sunfire take a 100 percent stake, the value of which has not been disclosed, in IHT. IHT’s headquarters in Monthey, Switzerland will continue to play an important role in the production of the stacks, which are the main component of the high-pressure alkaline electrolyzers.

IHT has a legacy of more than 70 years of experience with a total of 240 MW of electrolyzers based on its technology – the equivalent of more than 50 000 Nm3 per hour of hydrogen production.

This year, IHT will supply and install Europe’s largest single-stack alkaline pressurized electrolyzer to help regulate the power grid and produce green hydrogen for a project partner in Tyrol.

For IHT, the acquisition represents a new era in the company’s long history. The technology, based on the Lurgi principle, was first developed in 1950 and has since proven itself in several industrial projects around the globe.

The alkaline electrolyzers have a remarkable system runtime of over 90 000 operating hours, function at up to 30 bar working pressure without the need for downstream compression, and have a lifespan of more than 20 years.

Complements Sunfire’s SOEC technology

In addition, the system cost of alkaline electrolyzers today compares favourably to competing technologies on the market.

Our proven alkaline technology and Sunfire’s SOEC solution complement each other perfectly. We’re extremely excited to contribute to Sunfire’s mission to grow green hydrogen and look forward to the collaboration between the two teams, said Franco Nodari, CEO of IHT.

Sunfire’s innovative SOEC-based high-temperature electrolysis technology was first developed in 2010 and most recently deployed in what is the world’s largest high-temperature electrolyzer at the Salzgitter steel plant.

The technology has proven to be particularly suitable for environments with industrial waste heat in the form of water steam. This steam is efficiently broken down into hydrogen and oxygen. SOEC electrolysis thus requires significantly less renewable electricity for the production of green hydrogen compared to other technologies.

With the alkaline pressure electrolyzer developed by IHT, we have chosen the most mature and reliable technology currently available on the market. This acquisition represents an essential part of our growth strategy to strengthen and further expand our global market position as one of the world’s leading electrolysis suppliers. Our customers can now choose between our proven SOEC-based high-temperature electrolysis and high-pressure alkaline electrolysis, or even combine the two. Whether in an industrial environment or in smaller sized projects, we are proud to offer the optimal solution for every application, even for the short-term deployment of plants at the scale of 100 MW, said Nils Aldag, CEO of Sunfire.

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