Renewable hydrogen production growing faster than expected: electrolyzer producer
7th September 2021 13:01 GMT

The electrolyzer sector is scaling up much faster than expected, both in terms of the size of plants being built and the number of orders, manufacturer Cummins said at the First Element hydrogen conference Sept. 7.

Cost reductions were also accelerating from increased scale, as well as from advances in technology through using different materials and smaller quantities, Cummins Vice President of fuel cell and hydrogen technologies Amy Adams said.

Scaling of electrolysis-based hydrogen production was happening “much more quickly than people thought even a year ago,” Adams said.

The company commissioned its first 20-MW electrolyzer system in January, supplying a proton exchange membrane facility to Air Liquide at its Becancour hydrogen production plant in Quebec, Canada. The plant can produce over 3,000 mt/year of renewable hydrogen, the company said on its website.

Cummins was now in discussions for the production of 240-MW plants, Adams said, adding some of those projects would be operational in the next few years, having received approval to go ahead.

In transport, Adams said the total cost of ownership of a hydrogen-powered vehicle could fall to parity with battery electric and diesel vehicles by 2030, noting that costs had to fall for hydrogen to be an economically viable alternative for customers.

Adams said delivered hydrogen prices of $4-$6/kg would be "very enabling" for the hydrogen economy to expand.

Toyota Group Manager for North America, Craig Scott, said retail prices were too high at present to be competitive. Speaking at the same event, Scott said significant subsidies in California could reduce hydrogen production costs substantially, enabling pump prices to fall to $7-$8/kg.

S&P Global Platts assessed monthly pump prices in California at $15.79/kg Sept. 2, when it launched its new assessment.

Adams noted that a renewable hydrogen target production cost of $1/kg in the next decade in the US would be difficult but not impossible to achieve.

Platts assessed the cost of producing hydrogen by PEM electrolysis in California at $4.87/kg Sept. 3 (including capex), while PEM electrolysis production costs in Europe were more than double, at $10.23/kg Sept. 6 (Netherlands, including capex).

Platts ,
7th September 2021 13:01 GMT