Thyssenkrupp Nucera expands into solid-oxide hydrogen electrolysers




Technology licensed by Fraunhofer IKTS produces both green hydrogen and carbon monoxide, a precursor for e-fuels


German electrolyser maker Thyssenkrupp Nucera is to add high-temperature solid-oxide electrolysis cells (SOECs) to its product porftolio as its second technology offering, the company revealed today (Wednesday).


Thyssenkrupp currently only manufactures alkaline electrolysers, with 2.2GW on order from the Neom green hydrogen and ammonia complex in Saudi Arabia and 700MW reserved by H2 Green Steel’s flagship project in Sweden.


Thyssenkrupp Nucera has now entered into a strategic partnership with the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems (IKTS) to develop SOECs.


The electrolyser manufacturer will license the research institute’s chromium-based alloy stacks, which Fraunhofer IKTS has designed for higher efficiency and slower degradation than conventional SOEC stacks.


The research institute tells Hydrogen Insight that its technology converts CO2 and water to hydrogen and carbon monoxide, rather than the hydrogen and oxygen typically produced by electrolysers from water alone.


Together with hydrogen, carbon monoxide is a component of syngas which can be used for the production of e-fuels.


“SOEC technology perfectly complements our technology portfolio,” said the electrolyser manufacturer’s head of green hydrogen, Christoph Noeres.


At high temperatures, SOECs can operate with up to 25% higher efficiency than alkaline or proton-exchange membrane (PEM) systems, potentially producing more hydrogen per kilowatt-hour of electricity input.


Thyssenkrupp Nucera noted in a press release that its SOECs are likely to be used to produce hydrogen for industries that already generate waste heat — such as green steel, ammonia, methanol, fertilisers and energy storage — which could be cycled back toward the electrolyser to reduce electricity consumption needed to keep it hot.


A pilot manufacturing plant at Fraunhofer IKTS will be built as early as the first quarter of next year. However, the German company has not outlined when, if the pilot is successful, the SOECs will reach the market.


“For our future SOEC system solutions, we can build on our decades of experience in the development and scaling of electrolysis plants, as we have already proven with the successful development of our 20 MW AWE [alkaline water electrolysis] module scalum,” Noeres added.


Hydrogen Insight has reached out to Thyssenkrupp Nucera for further detail on the decision.





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