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Industrial group Thyssenkrupp has announced a new technology for renewables integration: Industrial scale water electrolysis for large projects. The solution, which is based on international electrolysis technologies, makes large-scale hydrogen production from electricity economically attractive, according to the company.

New technology from Thyssenkrupp for renewables integration

By splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen, this technology delivers “green” hydrogen, a clean, CO2-free energy carrier. The only inputs needed are water and renewable electricity from wind, hydro power or photovoltaics. Green hydrogen production is ideal for long-term energy storage, hydrogen mobility and other applications, making optimal use of renewable energy sources, Thyssenkrupp says.

The advanced water electrolysis features a well-proven cell design paired with an especially large active cell area of 2.7 m2. By further optimising the ‘Zero-Gap’ electrolysis technology (leaving virtually no gap between membrane and electrodes), very high efficiencies of more than 82% are achieved.

“Based on decades of experience in developing and building electrolysis plants, we have designed our product to meet our clients’ most important demands: Easy to deliver and install, highly efficient, with minimised investment and operation cost. And we have an industrial-scale supply chain of 600 MW per year already in place,” says Roland Käppner, Head of Energy Storage and Hydrogen at Thyssenkrupp Uhde Chlorine Engineers.

The technology has been developed in pre-fabricated skid mounted standard modules, allowing for easy deployment of these modules anywhere on the continent with minimal construction risks. The modules easily add up to the desired project size, potentially into the hundreds of megawatts range.

To date, the company has successfully completed more than 600 electrochemical plants worldwide.

Within the Carbon2Chem project, one of the global flagship projects for carbon-neutral value chains, the advanced alkaline water electrolysis by Thyssenkrupp has already been commissioned successfully. It will provide the necessary hydrogen for producing chemicals from steel plant flue gas.

Hydrogen is not only a clean energy carrier – whether for long-term energy storage in the gas grid or for clean fuels – but when produced from renewable energy, it can make the production of key chemicals sustainable. One good example is “green” ammonia. With the water electrolysis technology and its ammonia process, Thyssenkrupp can deliver integrated plants which can produce ammonia from nothing but water, air and sunlight or wind. The ammonia can be further processed into fertilisers.

“While renewables still form a small percentage of the South African energy landscape, this ground breaking technology is potentially a fundamental building block to a variety of renewable energy initiatives that are currently on the country’s Integrated Energy Plan agenda,” says Philipp Nellessen, CEO at Thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions, sub-Saharan Africa.

Video credit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g243uT_r4ZQ

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