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GrInHy2.0: EU Funding Body Visits the World’s Largest High-Temperature Electrolyser of Salzgitter Flachstahl GmbH

By July 15, 2021 3   min read  (518 words)

July 15, 2021 |

fuel cells works, GrInHy2.0: EU Funding Body Visits the World’s Largest High-Temperature Electrolyser of Salzgitter Flachstahl GmbH
  • FCH JU Executive Director Meets the GrInHy2.0 Project Partners On-Site

The GrInHy2.0 high-temperature electrolyser, which has been successfully operated for the first time in 2020, is the world’s largest one installed in an industrial environment.

On June 14, 2021, Bart Biebuyck, Executive Director of the EU funding body “Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking” (FCH JU), visited the Salzgitter Flachstahl iron- and steelworks to learn more about the GrInHy2.0 electrolyser installation on-site and to get informed about the project status.

GrInHy2.0 started in 2019 as the succeeding project of GrInHy (“Green Industrial Hydrogen”). Utilizing green hydrogen, made from water steam and renewable electricity via high-temperature electrolysis, a CO2-emission-free steel production can be achieved in the long term. The project is setting the path towards decarbonizing the steel industry. Members of the consortium are Salzgitter Flachstahl (SZFG), Salzgitter Mannesmann Forschung, Sunfire, SMS Group company Paul Wurth, Tenova and the French research center CEA.

From the EU’s point of view, GrInHy2.0 contributes to the ambitious EU climate targets of a net-zero economy until 2050. The project lays the foundation towards the ramp-up of electrolysis technologies and thus green hydrogen production across Europe. “The ambitious GrinHy2.0 project demonstrates how green hydrogen can successfully decarbonize hard to electrify sectors such as steel production by utilizing the waste heat from high-temperature industrial processes. We are proud to see that European players are leading the way in high-temperate electrolysis (HTE) and to know that the FCH JU funding has enabled the demonstration of the world’s largest high-temperature electrolyser to date”, says Bart Biebuyck, Executive Director of the FCH JU.

The high-temperature electrolyser has been developed and constructed by the electrolysis company Sunfire. It is based on the innovative solid oxide electrolysis cell (SOEC) technology, which utilizes waste heat and runs at 850 °C. Therefore, the system is much more efficient than other electrolysis technologies on the market: Sunfire’s high-temperature electrolyser requires significantly less electricity to produce one kilogram of green hydrogen. “GrInHy2.0 is an important demonstration project for us since it proves our electrolysis technology in an industrial environment. Contributing our deep technological know-how to the consortium, we are making another step towards decarbonizing industries that are still largely dependent on fossil resources”, says Sunfire CEO Nils Aldag.

The GrInHy2.0 electrolyser is part of Salzgitter’s transformation project “SALCOS®“ (SAlzgitter Low CO2-Steelmaking). With the existing infrastructure on-site – including the availability of steam from waste heat, a hydrogen pipeline and sufficient electricity supply – the system was built within perfect conditions. The electrolyser produced green hydrogen for the first time in December 2020, accomplishing a significant work schedule milestone of the project. Since then, the hydrogen produced has been fed directly into the steel plant’s hydrogen grid. As of today, 15 tons of green hydrogen have already been used in SZFG’s annealing processes and galvanizing plants for steel refinement. “The steel industry can make an enormous contribution to decarbonizing the industry sector. Key is the availability of green hydrogen. With GrInHy2.0, we are testing an innovative and energy-efficient approach in an industrial setting”, says Gunnar Groebler, CEO of Salzgitter AG and Board Member of Hydrogen Europe.

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