The Salzgitter Group and Sunfire GmbH will build and operate the world’s largest high-temperature electrolyser (HTE) for energy-efficient production of hydrogen together with key technological partners.

The GrInHy2.0 project marks the continuation of the successful collaboration between the two companies which began with the launch of the predecessor project GrInHy in March 2016.

Under the overall coordination of Salzgitter Mannesmann Forschung GmbH and with new international partners on board, GrInHy2.0 will see what will be the world’s most powerful steam electrolysis plant generate hydrogen for use in SZFG’s integrated steelworks.

With an overall budget of €5.5m, GrInHy2.0 was launched in January. In addition to the two Salzgitter companies SZFG and SZMF, the consortium partners also include Sunfire GmbH, Paul Wurth S.A., Tenova SpA and French research centre CEA.

GrInHy2.0 marks the first implementation of a high-temperature electrolyser with a power rating of 720 kilowatt in an industrial environment. By the end of 2022 it is expected to have been in operation for at least 13,000 hours, producing a total of around 100 tonnes of high-purity (99.98 %) hydrogen. This will be used for annealing processes in the integrated steelworks as a replacement for hydrogen produced from natural gas.

By increasing the scale of the high-temperature electrolyser, the GrInHy2.0 project will have the ability to extensively trial and test the integration of ‘green’ hydrogen into the steelworks processes. To do so, the gaseous product of the Sunfire-HyLink electrolyser will first be compressed and dried in the hydrogen processing unit supplied by Paul Wurth, a technology provider for the steel industry. Salzgitter Flachstahl will be responsible for operating the plant and feeding the gas into the company’s own hydrogen network.

In parallel with this, the French research centre CEA will conduct multi-year trials of the electrolyser stacks which form the central elements of HTE technology. Tenova as worldwide partner for innovative solutions in the metals industry, will support the project through a technical and economic study to accompany the decarburisation of European steel industry through the conversion at a very low CO2, green-hydrogen-based steel production. Salzgitter Mannesmann Forschung is responsible for project coordination and management.