ICE2017: Electrolysis is becoming big business

Tuesday 13 Jun 17

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Jens Oluf Jensen
Head of Section, Professor
DTU Energy
+45 45 25 23 14

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Kasper Haagen Skovse
Communications Consultant
DTU Energy
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Danish collaboration

The 1st International Conference on Electrolysis (ICE) is a collaboration between DTU, Aalborg University and Ewii Fuel Cells, supported by a number of research projects under the Innovation Fund and the EUDP. The participants come from 26 countries all over the world, most of them from the United States, Japan, China, South Africa and the EU.

What is electrolysis?

An electrolysis cell uses electricity to split water molecules (H2O) into hydrogen (H2) and oxygen (O2). In this way electrical energy is transformed into chemically bound energy in the hydrogen molecules. This is the reverse of the process that occurs in a fuel cell. Electrolysis cells can be used for the production of hydrogen using surplus power from, e.g., wind turbines.

Read more about DTU Energys research in electrolysis here

The announcement of the largest power-to-gas facility in history to be built in France was one of todays many highlights at the 1st International Conference on Electrolysis (ICE2017), that is taking place in Copenhagen this week.

DTU is hosting the world's first conference on electrolysis for energy purposes, 1st International Conference on Electrolysis (ICE2017) at Axelborg in central Copenhagen with more than 200 scientists and industrial representatives participating. One of the companies present today was Shell, a major global energy producer and supplier with an interest in all kinds of energy technologies, among those electrolysis.

“Shell is always looking for new technologies and electrolysis is a proven technology on the move forward and the growth in the market is big. So off course we are here, as is everybody else. The companies, the researchers, the utility makers are all here to get a feeling of the market”, explained Charudatta Patil and Jeff Martin from Shell.

“For us it is a matter of how competitive electrolysis is compared to existing technologies. The membranes, the catalysts and the cells are all getting better all the time, but how do we relate it to cost-reduction? This is what matters most to us and the reason for us being here. It is a well-timed conference.”

The largest power-to-gas facility in history

"Electrolysers play the key role for integrating large amounts of renewable energy in the grid, and we are getting close to hydrogen outcompeting fossil fuels. The tech works, it is efficient and it is cheap"
Bjørn Simonsen from NEL Hydrogen, as he told about the big NEL Hydrogen-order in France.

There was rumors of a major announcement in the field of electrolysis coming forth during the conference and the participants didn’t have to wait long.

Around noon today the Norwegian-based company NEL Hydrogen could tell at the conference, that NEL Hydrogen have been tasked to build the largest power-to-gas facility in history in the Les Hauts and Normandie-regions in France.

The 47,5 M€ framework agreement with H2V Product is to build a 100 MW electrolyser plant for power-to-gas in 2018-2020, with an additional 310 M€ deal of 600 MW extra capacity to be built later in the period 2020-2025. This is a major boost for the electrolysis-industry and a clear sign of the growing market.

“Electrolysers play the key role for integrating large amounts of renewable energy in the grid, and we are getting close to hydrogen outcompeting fossil fuels. The tech works, it is efficient and it is cheap”, said Bjørn Simonsen from NEL Hydrogen, as he announced the big NEL Hydrogen-order in France.

Valuable knowledge-sharing

This made it a jubilant second day for the industry at 1st International conference on Electrolysers, and they were not the only ones having a good conference. The researchers loved the possibility to share their knowledge.

“At last we have a conference focused on my field of work, electrolysis. We have always been part of other conferences on other techs. This is the first time we meet and learn from each other. That is very valuable, as you get to see beyond your own research”, said Anzel Falch from North-West University, South Africa.

Carsten Brorson Prag, development engineer at DTU Energy, agreed.

“It has been a long time since I really had a chance to network on a level like this with other people within the area of electrolysis, and if you don’t read scientific articles on a daily basis it is hard to stay updated,” he said. “Here you get firsthand information on everything that is happening in the field. That is really good.”

The 1st International conference on Electrolysis (ICE2017) with participation from over 200 researchers and industrial representatives continues on Axelborg, Copenhagen, until Thursday.

Read more about the 1st International Conference on Electrolysis (ICE) here

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