© Sunfire
© Sunfire

20MW Sunfire electrolysis plant installed in Finland

Sunfire and P2X Solutions have successfully installed a 20MW electrolysis plant in Harjavalta, Finland, with green hydrogen production expected to start later this year (2024).

Completed one year on from its ground-breaking ceremony, the project is hoped to set a milestone in the ramp-up of the Finnish green hydrogen market.

Read more: Sunfire to provide electrolyser for 20MW hydrogen production project in Finland

Commissioning of the 20MW Sunfire pressurised alkaline electrolyser is expected to commence imminently, ahead of production start-up in the second half of 2024.

Powered by renewable energy from wind turbines, at full capacity the site will produce around 400kg of green hydrogen per hour. Sunfire has also engineered the plant for mechanisation to produce synthetic methane from carbon dioxide (CO2) and green hydrogen.

Last November (2023), P2X Solutions signed an offtake agreement with Danisco Sweeteners. The company will use green hydrogen at its plant in Kotka, Finland, in its xylitol production for the food industry.

The €70m ($75.4m) project had received €36m ($38.8m) from the Finnish Government’s Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment as well as the Finnish Climate Fund.

Nils Aldag, CEO of Sunfire, said it was a lighthouse project for Europe, adding, “We feel privileged to be part of this pioneering project with P2X Solutions, where our pressurised alkaline electrolyser will be operated on an industrial scale.”

He continued, “I am especially pleased that out ‘Made in Europe’ electrolysis technology will contribute to Finnish energy history.”

The German electrolyser OEM kicked off serial production of its alkaline electrolysers in 2023. From a site in Solingen, Germany, Sunfire said to would reach 500MW of annual production capacity at the end of 2023.

Last year (2023) saw the first kilogrammes of hydrogen produced by RWE from a 250kW Sunfire electrolyser at a gas-fired power plant in Emsland, Germany.

Read more: First kilogrammes of hydrogen produced at RWE’s Lingen plant

Meeting scale: PEM and alkaline leading the electrolyser charge

Green hydrogen has landed itself a place in global energy discussion as the world looks to decarbonise, with the clean energy carrier expected to play a role across mobility, energy and industry.

However, if that potential is to be realised, an immense scale up of  technologies needed to produce green hydrogen will be required.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), by 2030, if all electrolyser projects in the global pipeline were implemented, it would lead to an installed electrolyser capacity of between 170GW and 365GW¹, but as with almost all technologies, there is debate over which route offers the most promising results.

Water electrolysis for hydrogen production is no new technology. In fact, it’s over 200 years old. Using an electrochemical reaction, electrolysis splits water into its component elements of hydrogen and oxygen.

In recent years however, somewhat of a two-horse race has formed, between two different systems that appear to be dominating global green hydrogen production projects: Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) and alkaline…

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