German wind turbine manufacturer develops 500 kW green hydrogen electrolyser prototype

Article by Aniqah Majid

The 500 kW pressurised alkaline electrolyser is the largest ever to be manufactured in Spain

GERMAN manufacturer Nordex Group is advancing green hydrogen production in Spain with the development of a 500 kW pressurised alkaline electrolyser, the largest ever to be manufactured in the country.

The prototype was designed, manufactured, and assembled entirely in Spain by Nordex Electrolyzers, a joint venture between Nordex and the Government of Navarra.

Its first 50 kW prototype electrolyser has been operational at the company’s facility in Puertollano since 2023.

The European Commission has part-financed Nordex Electrolyzers’ plan to roll out a series of pressurised alkaline electrolysers with €12m (US$12.9m) through the Important Project of Common European Interest (IPCEI) Hy2Tech programme.

Nordex and regional development partner SODENA have also invested €30m into the electrolyser production plant.  

Electrolysers for hydrogen

The 500 kW electrolyser can produce more than 10 kg/h of hydrogen with an energy consumption of less than 50 kWh. Nordex says the prototype is designed to work with power changes and frequent stops.

Electrolysis involves an electric current that splits water into hydrogen and oxygen. It is an energy intensive process with a large amount of renewable energy needed to keep it carbon neutral.

Currently, around 95% of all hydrogen produced in Europe is created by steam methane reforming of natural gas. It is by far the most efficient way of producing hydrogen, but the process does produce around 9 kg CO2/kg H2, according to a 2019 report published by Argonne National Laboratory .

Last year, one of the world’s largest green hydrogen projects, Sinopec’s 260 MW Kuqa facility in Xinjiang, China, was reported by Hydrogen Insight to be operating at less than a third of its installed capacity. This was due to safety risks relating to gas mixing caused by the lower-than-promised efficiencies of alkaline electrolysers.

Nordex Group installed 227 wind turbines with an output of 1,103 MW in Q1 this year, with 71% being in Europe. The company plans to integrate its subsidiary’s green hydrogen production into its value chain.

Luis Solla, CEO of Nordex Electrolyzers, said: “This prototype is part of Nordex Electrolyzers’ proposed business development plan, which aims to have the final design of its serialisable MW-scale product available by 2026.”

Article by Aniqah Majid

Staff reporter, The Chemical Engineer

Recent Editions

Catch up on the latest news, views and jobs from The Chemical Engineer. Below are the four latest issues. View a wider selection of the archive from within the Magazine section of this site.