By Leila Danielsen, Hystar
As the world gears up for the energy transition, hydrogen has a key role to play. And therein, it is large-scale installations that are going to ensure we achieve the ambitious global targets. According to the IEA, global electrolyzer capacity required in 2050 will reach 3600 GW. But what is it going to take to get us there? Hystar’s Project Engineer, Jan Schmidt, has a plan…
As of today, global electrolyzer manufacturing capacity currently stands at around 8 GW annually, with the IEA projecting that it could exceed 60 GW per year by 2030, based on announced projects. That’s a good start, but how do we deliver on those projects and continue to scale up? According to Jan, the key is mass manufacturing, and therein, the focus needs to be on breaking the problem down to the smallest repeatable units. (Focus small to grow big!)
“You create it once and make it mass producible,” he explains.
The idea is to create standardized units that suppliers and integrators are able to scale, enabling plants to be assembled in a manner similar to a certain well-known Danish design of colorful building blocks that kids (and many adults; we’re not judging!) enjoy playing with.😉For Hystar, that repeatable unit is our Orion™ module, built up of four Hystar stacks and scalable to different cluster arrangements.
“One of the great things is that the stacks themselves always come in the same size,” continues Jan. “You pack them together in different arrangements in order to suit the customer’s need. Approaching it like this enables us – and the wider industry – to scale quickly.”
Further to all that, an essential point for Hystar – and one that is unique to us – is the ease of installation and eventual maintenance of our units. A challenge we face is how relatively new our technology is. In spite of nearly two decades of R&D, as well as extensive testing, we don’t yet (check in again later this year!) have units in the field, which might give pause to potential customers. We significantly reduce the risk, however, by having a solution that is easily maintained and units that are easily exchangeable. This drastically reduces downtime and potentially even allows for continued overall plant operation when exchanging individual Orion modules on our larger installations.
Additionally, the interface will be kept the same, even as our products advance. This means that technological developments will still work within the same system. So future iterations that have even higher efficiency, or (further) reduced precious metals, for example, will still be able to be fully integrated without the need for an overhaul of the overall system.
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As already noted, the green hydrogen industry as a whole needs to grow, with a significant scale-up within the electrolysis industry vital to make the energy transition happen. And while we’re confident about the leading position of our technology, no one company or organization can tackle the problem alone. With this in mind, Hystar is focused on aligning with the industry as a whole in order to provide a solution that has a well-defined scope and with interfaces other partners in the hydrogen value chain can connect to so a full set-up can be provided.
Along this line, we held a workshop several months ago, bringing together some of the brightest minds in the industry to share knowledge and help each other work towards a zero-emission future.
“From Hystar’s side,” explains Jan, “the workshop helped us further develop our standard interface, while developing a better understanding of what our customers really need and are looking for from the market. This standard interface allows us to be able to deploy our leading technology as quickly as possible. We’re able to focus on what we do best – efficient stacks – packaged into a scalable unit so others can integrate it. This allows us to tap into the know-how that already exists in big EPC companies or companies familiar with industrial applications and big plant installations to go large-scale quickly.”
The development isn’t done though! We are always looking for opportunities to learn from the industry and the markets we serve. Another example of this is the virtual reality (VR) tour of a conceptual Orion™ plant we launched at Hannover Messe in April this year. This allowed us to visualize our concept for a large-scale plant and bring in feedback from the market. As we pivot our focus to increasingly large installations, regular touch points with the market will ensure we stay on track to meet the needs of the industry.
Want to learn more about our plans for scaling up hydrogen production through our Orion plants? Get in touch for a chat with Jan or one of our other experts… and maybe even get to try out the VR tour of a conceptual Orion plant.
Additional sources: IEA Global Hydrogen Review 2022
This article was produced by Hystar. You can read the original here.
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