Engineering and construction company Thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions on Thursday launched its industrial-scale advanced water electrolysis solution that makes large-scale hydrogen production from electricity economically attractive.
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 proven ‘Zero-Gap’ electrolysis technology (leaving virtually no gap between membrane and electrodes), very high efficiencies of more than 82% are achieved. The only inputs are water and renewable electricity from wind, hydropower or photovoltaics.
As renewable energy sources continue their global success story, the demand for integrating them into the current South African energy and industry landscape grows. Hydrogen production is suitable for long-term energy storage, hydrogen mobility and other applications to make optimal use of renewable energy sources.
The technology has also been developed in prefabricated skid-mounted standard modules and can be deployed anywhere on the continent with minimal construction risks, says Thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions sub-Saharan Africa CEO Philipp Nellessen.
“The modules easily add up to the desired project size; potentially into the hundreds of megawatts range. The patented design is based on Thyssenkrupp’s proven electrolysis technologies. Subsidiary Thyssenkrupp Uhde Chlorine Engineers has successfully completed more than 600 electrochemical plants worldwide.
“Based on decades of experience in developing and building electrolysis plants, we have designed the product to be easy to deliver and install, highly efficient and with minimised investment and operation cost. We have an industrial-scale supply chain of 600 MW/y already in place,” highlighted Thyssenkrupp Uhde Chlorine Engineers energy storage and hydrogen head Roland Käppner.
Within the Carbon2Chem project, a flagship project for carbon-neutral value chains, the advanced alkaline water electrolysis by Thyssenkrupp was commissioned successfully. It will provide the necessary hydrogen for producing chemicals from steel plant flue gas.
“While renewables still form a small percentage of the South African energy landscape, this 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,” said Nellessen.
Further, as a specialist in chemical plant engineering and construction, Thyssenkrupp can realise additional value chains, such as for methanol, which can enable carbon recycling to generate sustainable fuel.
“Power-to-gas solutions include methanation for the production of synthetic natural gas . As the starting point for all these solutions, water electrolysis can help to convert today's carbon-based industry into a more sustainable, climate-friendly one.”
Thyssenkrupp South Africa will actively seek to build partnerships with South Africa’s renewable energy stakeholders.
Hydrogen is a clean energy carrier, whether for long-term energy storage in the gas grid or for clean fuels such as for fuel-cell mobility. When produced from renewable energy, it can also make the production of key chemicals sustainable.
“One good example is ‘green’ ammonia. With the water electrolysis technology and its world-class 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,” said ThyssenKrupp Industrial Solutions Electrolysis and Polymers Technologies business unit CEO Sami Pelkonen.
“With our water electrolysis process, we have successfully brought a technology to market maturity which is of major significance for the energy transition. We are now able to offer our customers a wealth of sustainable solutions which will help to bridge the gap between renewable energy production and consumption.
“Green hydrogen as a clean, carbon dioxide-free starting point can be used in a variety of ways – for energy storage, mobility, and the production of sustainable chemicals,” said Pelkonen.