The establishment of a joint venture between Siemens Energy and Air Liquide for the industrial scale manufacture of renewable hydrogen electrolyzers in Europe has been announced. This Franco-German alliance will facilitate the creation of a sustainable hydrogen economy in Europe and foster a European ecosystem for electrolysis and hydrogen technologies by integrating the experience of two of the world's top firms in their respective fields. Production is anticipated to start in the second half of 2023 and build up to a three gigawatt annual production capacity by 2025.
Air Liquide will take 25.1 percent, and Siemens Energy will hold 74.9 percent of the joint venture, which creation remains subject to approval of the competent authorities. This joint venture will be headquartered in Berlin. The joint venture multi-gigawatt factory that produces electrolysis modules (“stacks”) would be also located in the German capital, as announced earlier this year. This factory will supply stacks to both Groups for their respective broad range of customers and to serve the rapidly growing market. Based on proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolysis technology, these stacks will feature a high degree of efficiency and are ideally suited to harvest volatile renewable energy. In addition, Air Liquide and Siemens Energy have agreed to dedicate R&D capacities to the co-development of the next generation of electrolyzer technologies within the framework of the partnership.
The strategic partnership will benefit from a portfolio of hydrogen projects combining both Air Liquide and Siemens Energy’s pipelines, targeting large industrial-scale hydrogen projects in collaboration with customers. This will create a solid basis for the required rapid ramp-up of electrolysis capacities and thus is expected to make competitive renewable hydrogen available sooner. One of the first projects is the Air Liquide Normand’Hy electrolyzer project, with a capacity of 200 megawatts (MW) expected in the first phase, located in Normandy, France. The assembly of the electrolyzer systems for this project is planned to be made in France.
“We want to be a driving force in hydrogen technology,” said Christian Bruch, CEO, and President of Siemens Energy AG. “To make green hydrogen competitive, we need serially produced, low-cost, scalable electrolyzers. We also need strong partnerships. Together with Air Liquide as a pioneer in hydrogen for over 50 years, we look forward to implementing innovative solutions and collaborating to shape this new hydrogen market.”
François Jackow, Chief Executive Officer of Air Liquide, said: “The creation of this Franco-German joint venture is a major step towards the emergence of a leading European renewable and low-carbon hydrogen ecosystem. By scaling up the production of large scale electrolyzers, Air Liquide and Siemens Energy will be able to provide their customers with access to large amounts of competitive renewable hydrogen and to decarbonize their activities. In line with its Sustainable Development strategy, Air Liquide is more than ever committed to making hydrogen a driving force of the energy transition and of the fight against global warming.”
The partners have and will apply for “large projects” funding under the EU’s Innovation Fund, Green Deal, and Important Project of Common European Interest (IPCEI)-scheme for hydrogen, funded by the European Governments.