Advanced Electrolyzers Will Get World’s Largest Factory in Green Boost

Haldor Topsoe A/S will build a giant factory to produce machines that can use renewable power to create hydrogen.

The facility will be able to produce 500 megawatts of electrolyzers per year, one of the largest such plants in the world, the Danish company said Thursday. It’s the latest to join a rush of companies to scale up manufacturing to tap an expected flurry of orders backed by billions of euros of government funding.

Hydrogen is seen as a key technology to cut carbon emissions from industrial processes and potentially shipping and aviation. The European Union aims to spur as much as 470 billion euros ($566 billion) toward hydrogen infrastructure in the coming decades.

Currently hydrogen made from electricity is much more expensive than methods that use fossil fuels. A key step to changing that calculation is to increase production of green hydrogen-producing machines.

Companies such as Norway’s Nel ASA, the U.K.’s ITM Power Plc and the Danish startup Green Hydrogen Systems A/S have already made moves to step up manufacturing the machines that produce hydrogen, known as electrolyzers. Haldor Topsoe aims to distinguish itself from the competition with a technology known as solid oxide electrolyzers.

An electrolyzer’s basic job is to use electricity to power a chemical reaction that splits water into hydrogen and oxygen. Solid oxide electrolyzers use a ceramic material for the separation of the two gases, but the operation needs very high temperatures, about 800°C (1,472°F). Higher temperatures, however, mean these devices can use less electrical energy for hydrogen production.

“Our customers need fewer units to produce the same amount of green hydrogen,” said Amy Hebert, chief commercial officer at Haldor Topsoe.

Haldor Topsoe expects the facility to be operational by 2023. It could be scaled up further to 5 gigawatts, the company said. The company hasn’t yet chosen a location for the facility and declined to comment on how much the investment will cost.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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