Germany's Sunfire buys Swiss electrolyser maker IHT

12th January 2021 By: Reuters

FRANKFURT – German clean technology company Sunfire said on Tuesday it has taken over IHT, a Swiss producer of alkaline pressure electrolysers to widen its portfolio and offer more technology choices to produce carbon-free hydrogen.

The European Union and Germany aim to create a "green" hydrogen industry based on non-fossil sources rather than natural gas as part of its decarbonisation strategy.

In this way, surplus wind and solar power can be stored locally on gas networks and caverns, and synthetic fuels could be produced to heat buildings or fuel vehicles.

Monthey-based Industrie Haute Technology has been operating alkaline pressure electrolysers and has installed 240 MW, Sunfire said in a statement. The transaction, whose monetary value was not given, will help Sunfire to complement its own high-temperature electrolysis method, called solid oxide electrolyser cell (SOEC) technology, it said.

The SOEC method derives hydrogen form steam powered by renewable electricity while reducing costly conversion losses.

It is well suited to industrial applications where process heat is available.

Sunfire last year delivered an SOEC electrolyser to Germany's Salzgitter.

Alkaline pressure electrolysis, on the other hand, is better suited to applications where there is no steam available, such as electricity grids and mobility.

Total and Neste own minority shares in Sunfire.

The main challenge for emerging hydrogen producers is the high cost.