Belgian manufacturer John Cockerill Group (JCG) is to build an electrolyser gigafactory of up to 2GW in India, in conjunction with a subsidiary of Greenko Group, one of the subcontinent’s largest renewable-energy developers.
It is the 14th giga-scale electrolyser factory to be announced in the past year or so, according to a tally by Recharge, and the second in India (see below), with JCG already building a 1GW plant in Aspach, France, due to be compelted in 2023.
JCG says it led the world in electrolyser shipments last year with a 33% market share, and also manufactures the world’s highest capacity electrolysers (6.5MW).
The Belgian company, which was founded by English-born John Cockerill as an iron foundry in 1817, builds pressurised alkaline electrolysers, which are said to rival proton-exchange membrane (PEM) machines in terms of ramp-up speed and therefore efficiency, making them well-suited to the ups and downs of variable renewable energy.
JCG has already established a joint venture in China, Cockerill Jingli Hydrogen, which has a 350MW electrolyser factory up and running in the city of Suzhou, next to Shanghai.
Greenko ZeroC and JCG said in a statement they will also “jointly develop market initiatives for green hydrogen electrolysers in the Indian sub-continent... and combine their strengths to collaborate in all spheres of market evolution for green hydrogen electrolysers”.
The joint statement says that the high-pressure alkaline technology, combined with Greenko’s round-the-clock renewables solutions “will enable the lowest levelised cost of hydrogen necessary for the implementation of a large H2 ecosystem on the Indian subcontinent”.
The pair has not said when the new plant would be completed or where it would be built, only stating that this would happen “in the next years”.
Greenko has already built 7.3GW of solar, wind and hydropower across India, and is developing long-duration pumped-hydro energy-storage projects to provide 24/7 renewable energy.
“This partnership will facilitate the production of the lowest cost green hydrogen by enabling delivery of electrolyzers at scale in India, within the next years,” said the joint statement.
“In turn, this will support the faster adoption of a green molecule-related ecosystem in the country. These developments in the H2 industry will help large local industries (refineries, fertilizer plants, steel...), the implementation of a large-scale energy ecosystem focused on renewable energies (PV, wind, hydro) and the development of H2 mobility in India.”
John Cockerill Renewables CEO Raphael Tilot added: “India and neighbouring countries have abundant natural resources, a large domestic market and the potential to cater to the growth of this market regionally and globally.”
Anil Chalamalasetty, Greenko’s CEO, added: “This partnership will not only help curtail India’s energy imports; it will also facilitate a turnaround to enable energy exports. And it will strengthen India’s green hydrogen ambitions as part of a wider renewable energy program that will see India run the world’s largest energy transition program.”
Several electrolyser gigafactories have been announced over the past year or so, including by Germany’s Thyssenkrupp (5GW); Australia’s Fortescue Future Industries (2GW, in conjunction with US player Plug Power), the UK’s ITM Power (5GW); Germany's Siemens Energy (1GW by 2023, but eventually “multi-gigawatt”; France’s McPhy (1GW); Norway's Nel (2GW); Plug Power (1GW in the US and 1GW in South Korea); US manufacturer Cummins (two 1GW plants, one in conjunction with Iberdrola and the other with Chinese oil giant Sinopec); Germany's Sunfire (1GW) and India’s Ohmium (500MW, but “expandable to 2GW”).