Siemens to build electrolysis modules in Berlin
By Jack Burke31 March 2022
Move will lead to mass production, lowering cost of electrolyzers, company says
Siemens Energy will begin industrial production of electrolysis modules for hydrogen production in Berlin, Germany.
Production at the company’s Huttenstrasse facility in Berlin’s Moabit area is scheduled to start in 2023. New production lines for the electrolyzers are being set up on 2000 sq. m. at a cost of around 30 million euros. Today, the site mainly manufactures gas turbines.
Siemens Energy said it is pooling its expertise in both electrolysis and turbines in Berlin to ensure a reliable and successful energy transition to a new energy mix. This also includes the business field of energy transmission: At the Siemens Energy Switchgear Plant Berlin innovative high voltage products are manufactured, ensuring that electricity reaches consumers reliably.
“With the new production facility for hydrogen electrolyzers, we are reinforcing our claim to play an active role in shaping the energy transition,” said Christian Bruch, president and CEO of Siemens Energy. “To this end, we are pooling our knowledge in the field of various energy technologies in Berlin. For us, hydrogen is an important component of the future energy world. For this to be economically viable, the manufacturing costs for electrolyzers must be significantly reduced. With our new production facility, we are helping to make hydrogen competitive sooner.”
At the Berlin location, the individual electrolyzer cells will be manufactured and combined to form functional modules, or stacks. Depending on the required capacity, these will then be assembled into larger process-based units. In Germany, this last stage will take place at Mülheim, which is closely associated with the new Berlin plant.
According to Siemens Energy, with the production being switched over to mass production, reasonably priced and affordable electrolyzers will be possible—which is a prerequisite for meeting growing demand and lowering the cost of hydrogen.
Siemens Energy is relying on PEM (Proton Exchange Membrane) electrolysis, in which water is separated into hydrogen and oxygen using a proton-permeable membrane and electricity from renewable sources. Key aspects of this process are its high level of efficiency, high product gas quality, and reliable operation with no chemicals or impurities. The latest and most powerful PEM electrolyzer product line from Siemens Energy is optimized for applications up to the high hundreds of megawatts, enabling systems of this size to generate several metric tons of green hydrogen every hour. The electricity used in electrolyzer manufacture will be sourced entirely from renewables.
Green hydrogen – hydrogen generated using renewable energy – is a key element in the replacement of fossil fuels with renewables. Hydrogen can serve as a storage medium and also as a raw material for further applications, including synthetic fuels. But hydrogen molecules can also be used directly as an energy source to generate electricity and heat, which have previously depended on gas. In combination with a massive expansion of renewables, this is a way to ensure the success of the energy transition, Siemens Energy said.