Cummins to Build Green Hydrogen Equipment Factory in Spain


American industrial giant Cummins Inc. plans to build one of the world’s largest manufacturing facilities for machines that produce hydrogen from electricity in Spain.

Cummins joins a growing number of companies that are rapidly scaling up manufacturing and production of the cleaner-burning fuel within the European Union as the bloc seeks to use hydrogen to curb greenhouse gas emissions from polluting industries. The company will partner with Spanish renewable power developer Iberdrola SA to provide the machines for a large-scale project to supply a fertilizer maker in Spain.

Hydrogen made from renewable electricity could cut the carbon footprints of industries like chemicals production, steelmaking and transportation. However, if the fuel is produced using electricity to separate the gas from water it’s much more expensive than the kind made from fossil fuels.

“Our partnership with Iberdrola will connect us with a major clean energy company and strategically positions us to be a European leader in green hydrogen production,” Cummins Chief Executive Officer Tom Linebarger said in a statement. “We believe that this is just the start of our expansion into new markets, bringing new clean technology to customers, and supporting efforts to bring the European Union’s Green Deal to fruition.”

Scaling up manufacturing is key to reducing the cost of renewable hydrogen, along with cheaper green power. By 2030, it’s likely that the hydrogen made from Spanish solar or wind farms will be cost-competitive with the more polluting kind, particularly as European carbon prices continue to surge, according to Linebarger.

“We’re not looking for a massive change in technology, just further deployment of technology that exists,” he said.

The planned Cummins-run plant in the Castilla-La Mancha region of central Spain will cost about 50 million euros ($61 million). It will have the capacity to produce about 500 megawatts of polymer electrolyte membrane electrolyzers every year, with the potential to scale output up to as much as 1,000 megawatts. It will make up part of the supply for a series of projects which Iberdrola has requested EU backing to build, that would supply hydrogen for fertilizer maker Fertiberia SA in Spain.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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