Electrolyser pioneer Sunfire launches serial production

On March 7th, the electrolyser manufacturer Sunfire launched its serial industrial production in the city of Solingen, Germany. Long known around the world for being the ‘city of blades’, Solingen could now become the ‘city of electrolysers'.

Electrolyser pioneer Sunfire launches serial production

For centuries the city of Solingen, located in the North Rhine-Westphalia region of Germany, has been known for its blade making prowess and given the title of ‘The City of Blades’. On March 7th, Sunfire opened a new chapter of Solingen’s history by launching its serial production of electrolysers.

The urgent need to increase ELY manufacturing capacity

The European Commission ambitions to produce 10 million tonnes of renewable hydrogen in Europe by 2030. Meeting this target would require more than 100 GW of installed electrolyser capacity. Energy-intensive industries are increasingly opting for renewable hydrogen as part of their decarbonisation efforts – however, the necessary equipment to produce renewable hydrogen is still in short supply. Indeed, nowadays, the annual electrolyzer manufacturing capacity in the EU is currently estimated at 1.75 GW. There is an urgent need to scale-up and policy support is necessary to succeed.

Sunfire is now one of the first companies in the world to start serial production of electrolysers. How? The German manufacturer is automating its most important production step: electroplating. Electrolysis cells – core components of the electrolysers – are metal-coated in the electroplating lines. This step is crucial for the efficiency, robustness, and durability of Sunfire’s electrolysers and therefore differentiates the company from other suppliers.

Reaching the gigawatt scale

Together with top-level guests from industry and politics – among them Maive Rute, Deputy Director-General DG GROW, European Commission – Sunfire officially inaugurated an expansion of its proven electroplating line on March 7. In parallel, a state-of-the-art, fully automated 500 MW plant is already in preparation, which will start operation as early as this year. And this is just the beginning. The German company is already planning its expansion into the gigawatt scale. The rapid expansion of Sunfire’s manufacturing capacity is based on a forward-looking scaling strategy: “We’re not starting from scratch by constructing a greenfield factory but are initially building on existing expertise and facilities along the entire value chain,” explains Sunfire-CEO Nils Aldag. The Solingen site is a prime example.

A milestone for renewable hydrogen production

To bring the core process of manufacturing alkaline electrolyzers in-house, Sunfire acquired electroplating specialist MTV NT GmbH in January 2022. The long-established company coated components for the mining industry for decades and is now embarking on a green future within the electrolysis business.

Sunfire launching serial production is not only an important milestone for the company itself. In his opening speech, Nils Aldag emphasized: “This is an important step for the European green hydrogen industry. Green hydrogen offers the opportunity for a successful transformation of the heavy industry and the creation of a new lead industry. We are facing one of the biggest transformations of the industry as we know it. It will affect the way we produce steel, chemicals, fuels, fertilizers, and many other products of our daily lives. And Sunfire has now the unique opportunity to fuel this transformation – to contribute to it.”

This launch is a turning point for Sunfire. With the right industrial policies, this could also be the case for large scale renewable hydrogen production in Europe. One often describes electrolysis with renewable electricity as one of the key industries of the future. Thanks to first-mover companies as Sunfire, Europe can proudly claim that the future is just around the corner.

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