Cummins starting up its first U.S. Hydrogen Electrolyzer Manufacturing site in the U.S.

Oct. 11, 2022
Nearly 90,000 square feet of the Fridley plant—where power generators are produced—will be dedicated to the H2 electrolyzers. Those Cummins’ proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolyzers will begin at 500-MW capacity

U.S.-based engine and equipment firm Cummins Inc. has made numerous inroads into hydrogen investment and development in North America, and now the company is taking a huge stake in the domestic H2 supply chain within its home country.

Cummins announced it will begin producing electrolyzers in the U.S. Its first electrolyzer manufacturing site in the U.S. will be in Fridley, Minnesota, where the company already has a generator production plant (seen above).

Nearly 90,000 square feet of the Fridley plant will be dedicated to the H2 electrolyzers. Those Cummins’ proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolyzer production will begin at 500-MW capacity and could scale up to 1 GW.

Electrolyzers use electricity to break water into its hydrogen and oxygen components. The Cummins PEM brands are the HyLZYER 500 and HyLYZER 5000. They can produce so-called “green hydrogen” if the electrolyzers used by generation firms are powered by carbon-free energy resources such as wind, solar, nuclear or hydro.

“Expanding Cummins’ electrolyzer manufacturing footprint to the United States is a milestone not only for our company but an important step in advancing global decarbonization efforts,” said Alexey Ustinov, Vice President of Electrolyzers at Cummins, in a statement. “This is a reflection of increasing government support through the Inflation Reduction Act, Hydrogen Hubs and a blossoming hydrogen economy in the states. Cummins’ ability to leverage our manufacturing, engineering and sourcing knowledge to build capacity will help us meet increased customer demand and continue to accelerate the clean energy transition.”

Cummins has already begun transitions into H2 fuel-cell and electrification of fleets. It is investing in a PEM fuel cell research and development facility in northern California. In addition, midstream oil and gas firm Enbridge Gas is partnering with Cummins on a hydrogen blending pilot project in Canada.

Florida Power & Light's NextGen Hydrogen Hub will feature Cummins' PEM electrolyzers.

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Hydrogen does not contain a carbon atom and thus emits no C02 upon combustion. However, the element is not readily found and must be generated either by electrolysis or steam reforming of methane gas, which has several H2 bonds with carbon and is more environmentally negative.

The Fridley adaptation to produce the PEM units increases Cummins’ electrolyzer manufacturing footprint worldwide. The company is expanding its facility in Belgium to 1 GW and added space to its Mississauga, Canada, site.

Cummins also is building new electrolyzer manufacturing factories in Spain and China.

In a recent forecast, Stratview Research anticipated that the hydrogen generation market should reach $241 billion by 2028, growing at an annual rate of 8.45 percent per year.

Longtime energy players such as Mitsubishi Power and GE, Southern California Gas, Invenergy, Honeywell and others are making big investments into future hydrogen expansion. Some utilities and OEM partners are experimenting with using percentages of H2 in the gas-turbine feed mix.

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(Rod Walton, senior editor for EnergyTech, is a 14-year veteran of covering the energy industry both as a newspaper and trade journalist. He can be reached at [email protected]). 

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