Germany’s Thyssenkrupp plans to boost its annual electrolyser production capacity to a massive 5GW from a current 1GW.

The industrial conglomerate also said it is involved in all three hydrogen lead projects that gain support by Germany’s education and research ministry (BMBF), and is testing the industrial-scale production, use and system integration of green hydrogen (produced from renewable power via electrolysis).

“With its comprehensive technology portfolio for both completely green value chains and the recycling of emissions in closed-loop systems, Thyssenkrupp can represent the entire value chain for green chemicals,” Thyssenkrupp chairwomen Martina Merz said.

“Bringing together this strength of our innovation-driven long-standing company with scientific research in the hydrogen flagship projects is the recipe for success for the implementation of the National Hydrogen Strategy and for keeping Germany’s technology leadership competitive internationally.”

The government will support the first of the three flagship hydrogen projects, H2Giga, with €8.5m ($9.8m) in subsidies for the research and development of large-scale production of alkaline water electrolysis (AWE).

Thyssenkrupp through the project aims at taking advantage of scaling effects and thereby reducing manufacturing costs, as well as expanding its existing supply chain of 1GW of electrolysis cells to enable larger project volumes of several gigawatt per year.

“We have seen a significant shift in the project sizes towards several hundred megawatts to gigawatts in recent months, so that large-volume and automated series production is already in line with market demand today,” Merz said.

“For these orders of magnitude, simple upscaling is not feasible, but disruptive approaches have to be applied, which are being developed, tested and optimized in individual steps within the framework of this project.”

The industrial conglomerate currently offers standardised 20MW electrolyser modules, which it said enables selective maintenance work on individual cells instead of having to replace the entire stack. In order to develop the next technology generation of alkaline electrolysis, Thyssenkrupp said it is carrying out completely new stack and cell development work.

The company also is striving to implement supply chain optimisation processes required for series production, including the use of robotics and automisation in manufacturing and assembly.

Essential for the ramp-up to series production is its joint venture with electrochemistry and cell manufacturer De Nora and other partners like metal processing firm Hoedtke.

Direct H2 production from offshore wind

Thyssenkrupp will also receive €780,000 in funding for its contribution to the H2Mare flagship project aimed at developing the production of hydrogen and downstream products such as synthetic fuels, methanol, ammonia and synthetic methane directly at sea. The company said it will develop the fundamentals of the project up to the engineering stage.

Siemens Energy, which coordinates the project, in August had already said H2Mare will be supported by €100m from Germany’s government.

Thyssenkrupp said it can offer various integrated green value chains based on its water electrolysis technology, including processes for the production of green ammonia, methanol and synthetic natural gas (SNG).

The third flagship project the company is involved in is the TransHyDE project that looks into the potential of the ammonia cracking process.

Over long distances, the transportation of ammonia as a hydrogen carrier is more profitable.

“After the transportation of green ammonia and its conversion back from liquid ammonia into its constituents hydrogen and nitrogen at locations where hydrogen is required, the hydrogen produced in this way can be put to direct use,” Thyssenkrupp explained.

“Potential applications include, for example, its use in steelworks, as a green feed for chemical plants, or in fuel cells in order to be converted into electrical energy.”