Sunfire launches serial production
Solingen, March 7, 2023
Energy-intensive industries are increasingly opting for green hydrogen as part of their decarbonization efforts – however, the necessary equipment to produce the gas is still in short supply. Sunfire is now one of the first companies to start series production of electrolyzers. To this end, the Dresden-based manufacturer is automating its most important production step: electroplating.
Electrolysis cells – core components of the electrolyzers – are metal-coated in the electroplating lines. This step is crucial for the efficiency, robustness, and durability of Sunfire’s electrolyzers and therefore differentiates the company from other suppliers.
Together with top-level guests from industry and politics – among them Mona Neubaur, Deputy Minister President of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia – Sunfire officially inaugurated an expansion of the proven electroplating line on March 7. In parallel, a state-of-the-art, fully automated 500 MW plant is already in preparation, which will start operation as early as this year.
Leveraging existing competencies
Sunfire will reach its annual production capacity for alkaline electrolyzers of 500 MW before the end of 2023. Expansion into the gigawatt scale is already in planning. One reason for the rapid expansion of Sunfire's manufacturing capacity is the hydrogen pioneer's forward-looking scaling strategy: "We're not starting from scratch by constructing a greenfield factory but are initially building on existing expertise and facilities along the entire value chain," explains CEO Nils Aldag. The Solingen site is a prime example.
Sunfire invests EUR 30 million in its Solingen site
To bring the core process of manufacturing alkaline electrolyzers in-house, Sunfire acquired electroplating specialist MTV NT GmbH in January 2022. The long-established company coated components for the mining industry for decades and is now embarking on a green future within the electrolysis business.
Sunfire is investing around EUR 30 million in expanding its Solingen site. The company is also to receive financial support from the Important Projects of Common European Interest (IPCEI). The funds are to be provided by both the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection and the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia.
Mona Neubaur, Minister of Economic Affairs, Industry, Climate Protection and Energy of the Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia: "Today's plant opening to mark the start of Sunfire electrolyzer series production is an important milestone for the ramp-up of the hydrogen economy in Germany and North Rhine-Westphalia. With the construction and commissioning of a new electroplating production line for electrolytic cells in Solingen, we are demonstrating that North Rhine-Westphalia has important qualifications and expertise for future technologies. The Solingen site, which used to manufacture primarily for the mining industry, is thus ready for the future and is a great example of how traditional companies are finding a promising business model in the hydrogen sector."
Image: © Sunfire