A new electrolysis unit at the Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research (ZSW) in Baden-Württemberg contributes to the acceleration of the hydrogen economy.

© iStock/smirkdingo

The continuing development and scaling of electrolyser technology – which splits water into its constituent elements hydrogen and oxygen – is crucial for accelerating the hydrogen economy. Germany is planning to increase its installed electrolysis capacity from a current level of around 0.2 GW to 10 GW by 2030. This equates to a factor of 50 in less than 10 years – quite a challenge.

A new electrolysis unit has just been opened at the Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research (ZSW) Baden-Württemberg by the state’s Minister of Economic Affairs, Nicole Hoffmeister-Kraut. The hydrogen technology industrial transfer initiative has been two years in development, with participation from 40 enterprises within the state contributing components, parts and know-how. The ministry has backed it with EUR 5 million.

“The ‘Made in Baden-Württemberg’ project capitalises on the strength of our plant construction firms and component manufacturers, giving them the tools to be established providers and suppliers of electrolysis technologies opening up the opportunity for the state to benefit from first-mover advantages over international competitors,” says Dr Hoffmeister-Kraut in a ZSW press release.

At the heart of the system is ZSW’s patented electrolysis stack technology. The alkaline-type high-pressure unit has a power rating of 1 MW and production capacity of around 20 kg of hydrogen per hour – enough to fill 80 fuel cell cars or 20 fuel cell buses/trucks daily. The system design is modular so the technology can easily be scaled up for industry.

The team plan to partner with more companies to expedite roll-out of the technology – 70 have been invited to a forthcoming recruitment event. From 2024, at the flagship H2 GeNeSiS hydrogen project in greater Stuttgart, the ZSW system is due to feed hydrogen into a pipeline along the river Neckar, further expanding the industrial network at the regional level.