Everything About Hydrogen – Could electrolysers replicate Moore’s law?

Sebastian-Justus Schmidt and Thomas Chrometzka on the Everything About Hydrogen inspiratia podcast

Aprile 20, 2020

Our Chairman, Sebastian-Justus Schmidt and Head of Strategy, Thomas Chrometzka, met up with the guys at the Everything About Hydrogen – an inspiratia podcast to discuss the intriguing topic of whether electrolysers could replicate Moore’s law. Now, this is quite a talking point and we thought it would get you excited! Asking the questions were Patrick Molloy of the Rocky Mountain Institute, Chris Jackson, CEO of Protium Green Solutions and Andrew Leedham, Associate Director of inspiratia. After we left the show, the presenters continued to discuss Enapter and the concept of modular electrolysers. So before you dive deep into the podcast, here’s some snippets of what they had to say…

Unconventional background

”I think they’re bringing a bit of fresh air to the whole thing…the fact that they are coming from a slightly different background… they’ve been able to think a little bit more outside the box and think a little bit more about the wider play for hydrogen.” 

Take the risk, reap the rewards

”I think it was really important that focus they’re putting on the end by saying, look we aren’t actually sitting here waiting for anyone to tell us ‘here is a nice government subsidy or here is a really well written law or here is some kind of guarantee that it is all going to work’ . They’re saying the reality is that in the industry we have to do our part and that means we do have to accept some risks to get on with scaling instead of just talking about how we’re going to resolve the problem. We have to just get on and do it and I think that’s pretty positive and the electricity efficiency numbers that they are reporting on I think are really encouraging.” 

All about optimisation

”It just goes to show that even within a year if you can generate an 8% electrical efficiency gain that there is still a lot of optimisation that could go on around these types of systems and technologies. I think that gives more and more comfort to the market that when people talk about scaling and its potential impact on costs, it’s not just hyperbole.” 

A rich man’s game?

”It may be the case that Enapter comes under the same fire like Tesla did for doing things like the Powerwall or the solar roof tiles, when some people say, ‘well that’s something that only the rich can afford to do’. My response to some of that is really, ‘so what, I mean if it gets the market going and growing, it stimulates interest and excitement and it helps to drive down costs‘. All of that is positive and I can see how actually, if you ever see the Enapter kit or you see the images, they do look quite slick. It doesn’t look like a big ugly industrial piece and if you look at what they’ve done with the Phi Suea House it is a really good looking location.”

Modular electrolysis vs large multi-megawatt systems 

”An important message to take away for our listeners is that it’s not just the multi-megawatt players, there are other applications. That modular approach can be a really good way of thinking of how you start to build hydrogen to flesh out certain challenges you might have with other technologies.” 

The question of cost and scale

”Do we get cost efficiency by virtue of the volume of electrolysers being produced and by virtue of the production efficiencies? Or do we get cost efficiencies from scale and if we do, what do they look like? Then obviously there’s a transport and logistics element to it. So this is a very active question, it’s one that I’m kind of glad that they’re having in those conversations but it will probably be use case by use case, and each sector will have different constraints for different kinds of needs. If they can find a niche then that’ll be one of the win boxes for hydrogen development.” 

Listen to the entire podcast on inspiratia, Spotify or Apple podcasts.