The Hydrogen Stream: Rosatom, EDF join forces, Shell builds Europe’s largest PEM electrolyzer


Russian state nuclear energy corporation Rosatom, and French electric utility EDF signed a strategic cooperation agreement, in March 2021, to develop green hydrogen in Russia and Europe. “We are ready to become one of the key players in the emerging, global hydrogen production, transport and consumption market,” said Rosatom’s Kirill Komarov in a note released by EDF Group last week. “The agreement with the Rosatom Group, our historical partner in Russia and one of the country's key players in the field of decarbonized hydrogen, illustrates EDF's desire to develop a new energy model with lower CO2 emissions wherever we operate,” commented EDF’s Béatrice Buffon.

Energy giant Shell and Norway-based research organization Sintef have announced the current status of the Refhyne project, at Shell's Rhineland Refinery, in Germany, will allow for the official opening ceremony to take place on July 2. The installation of the roof structure is one of the final stages of what the partners define as “Europe’s largest PEM electrolyzer.” The project is financially supported by the Fuel Cell Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCHJU). “Refhyne will produce … up to 1,300 tons of hydrogen per year. The technology is considered a pilot for use, for example, in mobility, industrial applications, electricity storage and heating,” read a note released by Shell on April 30. Sintef said, in a separate note, that the new electrolyzer, whose modules have been produced by ITM Power, will have a peak capacity of 10 MW.

The Germany-based Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology has announced it is progressing with its research to reduce the cost of PEM water electrolysis. “Our group at Fraunhofer ICT was able to identify a suitable support material based on SiC. The oxygen evolution activity of an iridium-oxide based catalyst could be increased substantially using this SiC-based support, especially at high temperatures,” read a note released by the research center, which is also working on the optimization of porous transport layers.

U.K.-based electrolyzer maker ITM Power has established ITM Motive as a separate entity, which now owns and operates a portfolio of 12 hydrogen refueling stations (HRS'), eight of which are currently commissioned, with a further four under construction or funded. According to ITM Power, the wholly owned subsidiary is the largest operator of HRS' in the U.K. “We look forward to creating new partnerships and developing new investment models as we take our portfolio of hydrogen refueling stations to the next level to meet demand from the exciting range of new hydrogen vehicles that are set to enter the U.K. market over the next year,” read a note released on Tuesday. Last year, the Italian gas TSO, Snam, invested €33 million in ITM.

Oslo-based Nel Hydrogen Electrolyser, a division of Nel ASA, announced on Monday that it has received a purchase order for a 2 MW, fully containerized MC400 electrolyzer from Switzerland-focused H2 Energy. The Norwegian company said that the deal shows that hydrogen for heavy-duty vehicles is a reality. “The 2 MW PEM electrolyzer is the second system to be delivered as part of the green hydrogen infrastructure network that is currently supplying hydrogen to the first 46 Hyundai trucks already operating in Switzerland, and aiming to reach a fleet of 1,600 by 2025. The system will be filling 350 … trailers directly [on] site to dispatch the hydrogen to the Hydrospider network in Switzerland.”

Spain’s Ministry for Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge (MITECO), and the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism (MINCOTUR) have approved a joint resolution that determines the criteria for the first pre-selection of renewable hydrogen projects that will be part of the European project aimed at supporting the renewable hydrogen value chain, under the mechanism, ‘important projects of common European interest' (IPCEI). The process, which started in June 2020, will arrive to a first conclusion on May 7, the deadline for promoters to file the required information. Last week, 12 companies joined forces to set up the Hamburg Hydrogen Network, the most important hydrogen IPCEI so far. The joint projects should be commissioned by 2026.

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