H2-international survey of electrolyzer manufacturers

The EL 4.0 will be built first in Pisa and then Saerbeck, © Enapter
The EL 4.0 will be built first in Pisa and then Saerbeck, © Enapter

The developments in the electrolyzer sector are continuing in great strides. Particularly in costs, where most manufacturers have been able to achieve substantial price reductions in the recent months, even if this has not been reflected in a reduction of the final price in all cases. In addition, both stacks and whole systems are becoming increasingly more compact and efficient.

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Decentralized H2 plants can be economically operated

Elogen-E100, © Elogen
Elogen-E100, © Elogen

Up to now, Germany has had an energy supply system that’s as centralized as possible. Large power plants generated electricity and heat, which was then distributed nationwide by means of an extensively branched infrastructure. With the emergence of renewable energies two decades ago, the idea of decentralization became increasingly widespread: since local solar and wind power plants or biogas plants generate electricity or heat on site, this energy can be used locally, without the need for loss-ridden transports. This basic idea is now also being pursued with hydrogen production by electrolysis. Whether such an approach might be sensible was investigated by the Reiner Lemoine Institut in its newest study “Netzdienliche Wasserstofferzeugung” (grid-serving hydrogen production). The results were presented in an online press conference March 10th, 2022.

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H2 industry must grow faster than PV by 2030

The realization that we need a lot of green hydrogen very quickly, not only in Germany and Europe, but also worldwide, is becoming more and more widespread. Germany has already made the decision to phase out nuclear energy and coal. And after Putin’s attack on Ukraine, natural gas is also under examination. The plan was to make the gas grid greener and greener. Now, there is discussion about a much faster ramp-up of the hydrogen economy. Which scenarios are conceivable for this?

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Is the gas sector really H2-ready?

Gas pipes – also suitable for hydrogen, © Mannesmann Line Pipe
Gas pipes – also suitable for hydrogen, © Mannesmann Line Pipe

The heating sector is still seen as the “sleeping giant” that needs to be awakened in order for the energy transition to be reached. A major problem is the lack of alternatives to heat generation with fossil fuels. A major beneficiary of the phase-out of coal and nuclear energy is likely to be the gas industry, which is already advertising the replacement of natural gas by green hydrogen, although so far hardly any carbon-free-generated H2 gas is available. Nevertheless, suppliers of fuel cell-coupled heating systems are currently having a hard time profiting from the upswing in the H2 industry, because their units are still dependent on fossil gases for the time being.

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Back in hall 13 for Hannover Messe

Hydrogen + Fuel Cells Europe, according to the current status, will take place May 30th to June 2nd in person on the Hannover Messe fairgrounds. There, industry representatives will be able to network in the dependable corporeal format again. That’s the assumption of Tobias Renz anyway, the organizer of this trade fair. The space booked for stands may be similar to the last time, in 2019, before the corona pandemic. Renz hopes to be able to present around 200 exhibitors once again.

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Is Plug Power helping the German intralogistics industry get going?

pic. special stations that can supply 120 fuel cell forklifts per day, © Calvera

Powered industrial trucks are available with diesel, liquid gas and electric drives. For some years now, in addition to rechargeable batteries for electric forklifts and palette jacks, there has also been the possibility of using a hydrogen tank together with a fuel cell. This has been done a zillion times as well in North America. In Europe, the number of hydrogen-powered vehicles remains in the three-digit range. Now, Plug Power is planning to establish a European center in Nordrhein-Westfalen. Is this the starting signal for the upscaling of fuel cell forklifts in the European Union?

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Interview with Dr. Stephan Reimelt, German branch leader of Bloom Energy

Portrait Dr. Stephan Reimelt, © Bloom
© Bloom

The enormous interest in hydrogen and fuel cell technology has brought a lot of attention to the publicly listed companies in this field. Fuel cell producers like Bloom Energy, however, are finding it difficult to benefit to a comparable extent from the upswing in the H2 sector because their plants are still dependent on fossil gases for the time being. H2-international talked to the head of business development at Bloom Energy Germany, Dr. Stephan Reimelt, about some challenges involved in supplying decentralized energy through fuel cell plants.

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Debut of stationary hydrogen engines?

MAN - engine operated with up to 25 percent hydrogen
engine operated with up to 25 percent hydrogen © MAN

The whole world is talking about the imminent end of combustion engines, on possible bans on oil and diesel combustion engines. But what about hydrogen motors, especially for stationary applications? In the German-speaking domain, companies such as 2G and Innio are particularly active in this sector. Globally, companies like Wärtsilä and MAN are also pushing for this technology route.

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Hydrogen – the economic miracle

View inside the 500-kilowatt Green Electrolyzer, © iGas
View inside the 500-kilowatt Green Electrolyzer, © iGas

The production of hydrogen is now recognized as an emerging market right around the globe. Many diverse electrolyzer manufacturers are experiencing unprecedented demand. A great many new players are jumping on the bandwagon and increasing numbers of conventional energy suppliers are pivoting from traditional power sources to renewable energies and embedding hydrogen in their portfolios. So what is the current situation vis-a-vis electrolyzers and what can we expect in the future? This article seeks to shine a light on these and other questions by providing a general – though not necessarily exhaustive – roundup of recent developments.

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