Can Electrolyser Integration Change the Green Hydrogen World?
Changing perspective from industrial engineering projects to mass-produced products
August 5, 2021
Are electrolysers projects or products?
Many in the energy industry are convinced it’s the former, as this 2020 quote from an energy publication highlights: “Central to the production of hydrogen is an electrolyser, a highly complex piece of equipment that can’t simply be bought off the shelf.”
Or can it?… Here at Enapter, we know there’s a second option – customers in 40 countries already use our standardised plug-&-play AEM Electrolysers, directly off our very quickly-growing shelf.
So what’s the difference? Industrial engineering projects design electrolysers to specification and then must build, install, connect and maintain them. Standardised, mass-produced electrolysers are ready-made products that only need to be integrated to generate green hydrogen.
And this is where it starts to get interesting.
Industrial engineering vs mass production
The question of project vs product is one that’s at the heart of scaling up green hydrogen production. Many contend that developing and building colossal custom electrolysers is the best way to scale up production to reach the green gas capacity we need.
And this will play an important role: The world needs to rapidly deploy as much electrolyser capacity as possible, with different players and electrolysis technologies scaling production in parallel.
But a mass-production approach over electrolyser projects could accelerate the rollout, mirroring the epic cost reductions seen with mass-production of modular, standardised solar panels.
This approach is the same one Enapter takes with modular, mass-produced and standardised AEM electrolysers. We believe that these, produced at scale, will make the lowest cost hydrogen possible.
And at scale, the integration of electrolysers will be a much bigger part of the green hydrogen world.
Enter the integrators
Fun fact: Enapter isn’t an integrator.
We focus solely on manufacturing electrolysers, while our growing global network of integration partners is there to help end customers rapidly integrate green hydrogen solutions.
In turn, more companies (and future partners) searching for easy-to-integrate electrolysers come to us for green hydrogen technology that they can offer to their customers in turn-key solutions.
They range from pure system integrators to energy component manufacturers that combine our electrolysers with their solutions, through boutique providers seeking one compact machine to large energy developers interested in our megawatt-scale AEM Multicore.
Several of these partners joined us earlier in the year at the digital Hannover Fair to talk about hydrogen energy storage solutions around the world; their comments give an insight into why such partnerships will be essential for scaling green hydrogen.
“A hurdle for people heading for a really clean energy solution is the complexity of the possible components, as well the integration and management that needs to be set up – so it’s an asset to make it easy for partners and customers.” – Zeyad Abul-Ella, Founder HPS Home Power Solutions. Berlin, Germany.
We make integration easy for our partners with plug-&-play tech but the ambition and complexity of some energy systems means that certain customers will still require further expertise to get started.
This is where integrators can unlock green hydrogen solutions.
They are essential to the accelerated rollout of green hydrogen as they offer end users a complete one-stop solution for hydrogen-based energy systems. They are the flip-side of deploying low-cost standardised electrolysers off the shelf, enabling the completion of this business model.
And they are everywhere: Thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of energy system integrators use modular components off the shelf, and are increasingly looking to add electrolysers to their arsenal.
Their numbers will only boom as the world switches to renewables. Global grid-connected energy storage installations, just to give one example, are expected to triple between 2020 and 2025.
“We need to reach out to each other and try to find the best solutions. If we can combine our knowledge, hardware and software, we’ll be able to make really interesting products that will scale.” – Martina Wettin – Co-Founder Nilsson Energy. Gothenburg, Sweden.
Integrators let us focus on making the highest quality and lowest cost electrolysers possible while they realise a diverse world of applications – the full power of decentralised green hydrogen.
We’re application agnostic so we think this is fantastic: Our goal is to make green hydrogen cheap, which will create even more applications for its use, some of which haven’t yet been imagined. Some surprising uses emerging today include green H2 steam power, solar protein made with green hydrogen and CO2, or creating green hydrogen and oxygen from lunar water for moon expeditions.
In short, affordable, accessible and scalable green hydrogen production empowers the creators of solutions. Those who don’t need to spend time building or integrating have more time to innovate.
Scaling up green hydrogen
“We’re trying to bring together different technologies and partners to integrate solutions that can be the vaccine for the climate crisis.” – Siddarth Mayur, Managing Director h2e Power Systems. Pune, India.
Integrated modular solutions can meet all decarbonisation needs: for example, those needing green hydrogen for research or home use can have a system with one modular electrolyser; for commercial, industrial or energy sectors, they can stack more modules or take a MW-scale system.
This approach allows integrators to quickly scale up operations as their customers’ needs grow from test uses to pilot plants to industrial levels. Many of these partners also produce and integrate their own modular systems – for energy storage through to power fuels production – to meet diverse energy needs.
And to meet their needs as they scale, Enapter is also scaling up its production capacity. Low-cost decentralised energy production, use and storage at all levels of demand can thus grow together.
The rise and growth of green hydrogen system integrators and manufacturer-integrators has begun to release the power of mass-produced electrolysers. The trend will only strengthen as green hydrogen prices drop and installed capacities grow.
This mass production and mass integration will enable more and more people to realise decarbonisation solutions than is currently possible with an industrial engineering approach – a reflection of the fact that flipping global warming is truly a task that can only tackled together.
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