German electrolysis company Sunfire has installed a 2.6-MW high-temperature electrolyzer to produce green hydrogen at Neste’s renewable products refinery in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
Neste is an oil refining and marketing company based in Espoo, Finland. The company is working on multiple paths to decarbonize, including production of carbon-free hydrogen and lesser-carbon renewable diesel and aviation fuel.
According to Sunfire, the electrolysis system has met the refinery’s quality requirements and achieved mechanical completion. The system consists of 12 electrolysis modules, which the company installed at the refinery over the last several months as part of the EU-funded demonstration project MultiPLHY.
The electrolyzer system is based on Sunfire’s solid oxide electrolysis cell (SOEC) technology and will become a part of the refinery’s processes for the on-site production of renewable products. Operating at temperatures of 850 °C, the system will use industrial excess heat to convert steam into hydrogen. It is expected to generate over 60 kg of green hydrogen every hour once operational.
“We are proud to soon demonstrate our multi-megawatt electrolyzer in an industrial refinery environment,” said Nils Aldag, CEO of Sunfire. “Groundbreaking hydrogen projects like MultiPLHY are laying the foundation to secure Europe's position as a global leader in clean technologies.”
Electrolyzers produce hydrogen by splitting the H2 from water. Green hydrogen is only possible if the electrolyzer is powered by carbon-free energy resources such as renewables and nuclear.
The MultiPLHY consortium comprises Sunfire, Neste, the French research center CEA, SMS Group company Paul Wurth and ENGIE, with EU Clean Hydrogen Partnership funding the project.
Last year, Neste announced it will invest approximately €1.9 billion Euros in the expansion of its renewable diesel and aviation fuel production capacity at its Rotterdam refinery. The decision to expand production capacity is based on the observed substantial increase in demand for renewable products as customers set high climate goals.
The current capacity at the plant is 1.4 million tons and with the expansion, this capacity will increase to 2.7 million tons annually. Sustainable aviation fuel production capacity will be 1.2 million tons of the total capacity.