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New hydrogen alliances forged

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As a result of the EU’s tighter climate goals, “green” hydrogen demand is exploding. Increasingly, industrial groupings are cooperating to increase production of this adaptable energy carrier, which has thus far been generated in tiny quantities from renewable sources.

Siemens Energy, a German power engineering company, and Air Liquide, a French industrial gas supplier, announced on Thursday that they would expand their relationship to develop electrolysers in a joint venture.

The two parties had signed a memorandum of understanding in this regard the previous year and announced a first minor project for 30 megawatts (MW) in Oberhausen. Through the recently established Berlin-based joint venture, in which the German business has around three-quarters of the shares and its French counterpart retains one-quarter, the industrial series manufacturing of electrolysers will be increased. “By expanding the production of electrolysers on a broad scale, Air Liquide and Siemens Energy will be able to provide their clients with competitively priced renewable hydrogen and decarbonize their operations,” stated Air Liquide CEO Francois Jackow.

According to the article, construction of the electrolysers is anticipated to begin in the second half of 2023 at Siemens Energy’s Berlin facility. The annual output will then be increased to 3 GW by the middle of the decade.

This will necessitate about 3,000 stacks, or electrolysis modules, which will be integrated into larger units. 3 GW of installed capacity amounts to the production of approximately 57 tons of hydrogen per hour. Siemens Energy is currently transforming a facility in the German capital, where gas turbine components were formerly manufactured, at a cost of 30 million euros in order to build the modules. Previously, the power engineering company in Erlangen manufactured electrolysers.

Air Liquide is experienced in the hydrogen industry

Siemens Energy and Air Liquide want to advance their research in the field in order to jointly develop the next generation of electrolyzers, according to the statement. Extensive hydrogen initiatives on an industrial scale are intended to be undertaken in partnership with customers, both independently and collectively. In Normandy, one of the first large-scale projects will be constructed with a capacity of 200 MW.

Siemens Energy is no stranger to the hydrogen industry; Air Liquide has always been involved in the development of liquid hydrogen-based propulsion systems for Ariane space rockets. Air Liquide’s hydrogen activities include production, storage, sales and transport. The energy carrier’s annual sales are just about 2 billion euros, or one tenth of overall revenues.

Through 2035, Air Liquide intends to invest a total of 8 billion euros in the hydrogen infrastructure. This is aided by the fact that authorities have significantly expanded financing pots; Siemens Energy and Air Liquide have also submitted applications for various subsidies. This encourages professional networking. Thyssen-Krupp, for instance, has recruited Air Liquide to push the transition of steel production to hydrogen. In the future, a pipeline will transport hydrogen from an Air Liquide production network directly to a steel plant in Duisburg.

Nedim Husomanovic

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