The race to make green hydrogen a competitor has begun

One type of hydrogen production uses electrolysis, with an electric current splitting water into oxygen and hydrogen. If the electricity used in this process comes from a renewable source, some call it “green” hydrogen.

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Siemens Energy and Air Liquide have announced plans to create a joint venture focused on the production of an “industrial scale renewable hydrogen electrolyzer in Europe”.

The move, announced Thursday, represents the latest attempt to find a way to lower the costs of “renewable” or “green” hydrogen production and make the sector competitive.

The creation of the joint venture – Siemens Energy will own 74.9%, while Air Liquide will own 25.1% – is subject to approval by the authorities.

If all goes as planned, it will be headquartered in Berlin, with a facility that produces electrolysis units, or chimneys, located there as well.

It had been announced earlier plans to produce the electrolyzer in the German capital. Manufacturing is scheduled to start in 2023, with an annual production capacity of 3 gigawatts that arrived in 2025.

The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, had previously said it wanted to install 40 gigawatts of renewable hydrogen electrolyzer in the EU in 2030.

In February 2021, Siemens Energy and Air Liquide announced plans to develop a “large-scale electrolyzer partnership”.

Described by the International Energy Agency as a “versatile energy carrier,” hydrogen has a variety of applications and can be deployed in a wide range of industries.

It can be produced in several ways. One method involves the use of electrolysis, with an electric current that splits water into oxygen and hydrogen.

If the electricity used in this process comes from a renewable source such as wind or solar, some call it “green” or “renewable” hydrogen. Today, the vast majority of hydrogen generation is based on fossil fuels.

In October 2021, Christian Prosch, CEO of Siemens Energy, spoke about the challenges facing the green hydrogen sector. On Thursday, he stressed the importance of scale and collaboration in the future.

“To make green hydrogen competitive, we need mass-produced, low-cost and scalable electrolyzers,” Bruch said in a statement. “We also need strong partnerships,” Bruch added.

François Jaco, CEO of Air Liquide, described the creation of the joint venture as a “major step towards the emergence of a leading renewable, low-carbon European hydrogen ecosystem”.

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Siemens Energy and Air Liquide’s joint venture plan represents the latest attempt by multinational companies to mark the green hydrogen sector.

Just last week, oil and gas giant BP said it had agreed to acquire a 40.5% stake in the Asian Renewable Energy Center, a mega project planned in Australia.

BP said in a statement that it will become the operator of the project, adding that it has “the potential to be one of the world’s largest renewable energy and green hydrogen centers”.

In December 2021, Iberdrola and H2 Green Steel said they would jointly develop and develop a €2.3 billion (about $2.42 billion) project centered around a green hydrogen facility with an electrolysis capacity of 1 gigawatt.

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