Sunfire’s SOEC produces first hydrogen at RWE’s site in Lingen

The GET H2 TransHyDE joint project, based in Lingen, Germany, has reached a milestone with hydrogen produced for the first time on the site of the RWE gas-fired power plant in Emsland (KEM) using a high-temperature solid oxide electrolyzer (SOEC) from Sunfire.

Courtesy of RWE

The electrolyzer, which is installed in an overseas container and has an output of 250 kilowatts (kW), is part of a test facility at which nine project partners are investigating how hydrogen can be safely and reliably transported and stored through pipelines.

RWE said the electrolyzer can produce around 170 kilograms of hydrogen per day at full load, noting that a day’s production would theoretically be enough to power a car with a fuel cell engine for 17,000 kilometers. However, the hydrogen from the 250 kW plant in Lingen is needed for research purposes. RWE said it will be fed into a 130-meter-long test line (loop) as part of the GET H2 TransHyDE research project.

Sopna Sury, COO of Hydrogen at RWE Generation, stated: “With the commissioning of this first electrolyzer, RWE has officially started to produce hydrogen in Lingen. These 250 kilowatts of electrolysis capacity for the GET H2 TransHyDE research project are an important first step for us, and it will quickly be followed by others. In a few months, our 14 megawatts (MW) pilot electrolyzer at the Lingen plant, our first one that will produce hydrogen on an industrial scale, will also go into operation.”

Nils Aldag, CEO of Sunfire, commented: “Germany has set itself the goal of becoming the lead market for hydrogen technologies. To achieve this, we also need a strong domestic market where technology providers and customers move forward together. With our partner RWE, we are validating the next generation of electrolyzers with high-temperature SOEC electrolysis. In parallel, we are building a pressurised alkaline electrolyzer on an industrial scale in Lingen. This is how we are gathering experience and developing standards together.”

According to RWE, in the coming weeks, a piston compressor will be put into operation next to the 250 kW electrolyzer, which will allow hydrogen to be compressed to the 58 bar of pressure required for pipeline transport. The first tests on the TransHyDE test pipeline are expected to start at the beginning of 2024.

To note, the companies Adlares, Evonik, Meter-Q Solutions, Nowega, OGE, Rosen and RWE, together with the DVGW Research Unit at the Engler-Bunte Institute of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and the University of Potsdam, are researching the infrastructure required for green hydrogen in the public space in the joint project GET H2 TransHyDE.

RWE said the nine partners are gathering knowledge on how to transport hydrogen and to this end, they are setting up a test environment in which they are investigating how to measure the quality and quantity of hydrogen. Additionally, they are optimizing compressor concepts and looking at how hydrogen affects materials. Other aspects are technologies for remote leakage detection and for pipeline inspection and maintenance.

TransHyDE is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research with the aim of advancing the implementation of the ‘National Hydrogen Strategy.’ The Ministry is funding the project to the tune of €11.63 million.