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Sunfire reveals plans for alkaline electrolyzer production plant

Germany-headed Sunfire GmbH, a global leader in the production of industrial electrolyzers based on alkaline and solid oxide technologies, has announced that it plans to build a large-scale alkaline electrolyzer production site with an annual capacity of 500 MW in Germany by 2023 – with a further extension to more than 1 GW per annum already in planning.

Sunfire GmbH plans to build a large-scale alkaline electrolyzer production site with an annual capacity of 500 MW in Germany by 2023 – with a further extension to more than 1 GW per annum already in planning. A final investment decision is expected to be made on completion of site selection (image courtesy Sunfire).

In January 2021, Sunfire added pressurized alkaline electrolysis (PAE) to its product portfolio when it acquired Swiss alkaline electrolyzer company Industrie Haute Technology SA (IHT), setting the course for rapid scaling. The company now announces the industrialization of its proven technology.

Since we founded Sunfire in 2010, we have believed 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, said Nils Aldag, CEO, Sunfire.

With an increasing number of countries and corporations committing to climate neutrality, the 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, Nils Aldag said.

The final investment decision is expected to be made upon completion of site selection and is subject to obtaining the necessary financing, including those requested within the framework of the Important Project of Common European Interest (IPCEI) process.

In May 2021, Sunfire was selected for funding support within the framework of a joint European hydrogen project (Hydrogen IPCEI) by the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy and the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure.

In the coming months, the European Commission will be conducting a notification procedure to examine compatibility with EU State Aid regulations.

Electrolysis is a key technology

As both a 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 EU Member States 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 widely considered a market leader in this segment. Before Sunfire’s SOEC technology can be used at an industrial scale, it needs to be further developed at full speed.

Thanks to its unsurpassed efficiency, SOEC will be the preferred electrolysis technology in various industries. In order to satisfy the large demand of our customers already today, we will be expanding our production capacity for alkaline electrolysis. We are ready for hydrogen projects in the 100 MW scale, said Nils Aldag.

The robust pressurized alkaline technology has proven itself in dozens of industrial projects over several decades around the globe. IHT has more than 70 years of global operating experience, and Sunfire’s customers are now benefiting from this acquisition.

We can offer our customers the most reliable and cost-effective technology currently available in the market. As soon as we start the mass-production of our alkaline electrolyzers, the cost of producing electrolyzers and, thus, renewable hydrogen will drop even further, said Bernhard Zwinz, COO, Sunfire who has successfully scaled industrial production facilities in the past.

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