DOE grant prompts move to commercialise electrolyser technology

The funding will allow Thyssenkrupp Nucera US and its partner De Nora to work towards automated manufacturing of gigawatt-scale alkaline water electrolysis production lines for customers in the US. 

“Transitioning cell manufacturing from manual labour to automotive-like mass production that can serve multiple [gigawatt] projects per year will be the key factor to best position our business in the US,” said Dr Werner Ponikwar, chief executive of Thyssenkrupp Nucera. 

The grant is part of $750 million in funding for 52 projects across 24 states – the first significant federal funding of electrolysis technologies under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

In Europe, meanwhile, Thyssenkrupp Nucera said it was positioning itself for the electrolysis market of the future and strengthening its technology portfolio by entering a strategic partnership with research institute Fraunhofer IKTS. 

The institute has been carrying out research and development work in high-temperature solid oxide electrolyser cell (Soec) technology, which the two companies want to take towards industrial manufacturing and application. 

By the first quarter of 2025 a pilot plant planned and built by Fraunhofer IKTS is scheduled to start production of high-temperature electrolysis stacks, using Soec, initially in small quantities. 

The strategic partnership includes a licence for Thyssenkrupp Nucera to produce and use stacks based on the Fraunhofer technology.

The companies noted that Soec technology will benefit industries such as green steel, ammonia, methanol and fertilisers – in which industrial waste heat is generated during production, as its use significantly reduces electricity consumption. 

In addition, the use of high-temperature technology eliminates the need for rare precious metals.

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