Sunfire has started series production of its alkaline electrolyzers in Solingen. To this end, the Dresden-based company is now automating key production steps.
With numerous guests from industry and politics - including Mona Neubaur, Deputy Minister President of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia - Sunfire inaugurated an extension to its existing electroplating plant on March 7. In parallel, work is underway on a fully automated 500 MW plant, which is scheduled to start operations this year.
In the automated electroplating lines, the cells - the heart of the electrolysers - are metallically coated. This step determines the efficiency and longevity of the electrolyzers and is a key differentiator from other suppliers, according to Sunfire.
Before the end of 2023, Sunfire aims to reach an annual manufacturing capacity for alkaline electrolysers of 500 MW. Expansion into the GW scale is already in the planning stage, he said.
Funding from federal and state governments
The core process of alkali electrolyzer manufacturing is electroplating. To carry out the process in-house, Sunfire acquired MTV NT GmbH in January 2022. MTV NT's specialty was plating components for the mining industry. Now, as part of Sunfire, the company is changing its business model.
Sunfire says it is investing around €30 million in the expansion of the Solingen site. The company is also to receive financial support for this through an IPCEI grant. The funds are to be provided by both the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection and the state of North Rhine-Westphalia once the legal review procedures have been completed.
New business models through hydrogen
Mona Neubaur, Minister for Economic Affairs, Industry, Climate Protection and Energy of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia:
"Today's plant opening for the start of Sunfire electrolyser series production is an important milestone for the ramp-up of the hydrogen economy in Germany and North Rhine-Westphalia. With the construction and commissioning of a new electroplating production line for electrolytic cells in Solingen, we are demonstrating that North Rhine-Westphalia has important qualifications and expertise for future technologies.
The Solingen plant, which used to manufacture primarily for the mining industry, is thus being made fit for the future and is a great example of how traditional companies are finding a promising business model in the hydrogen sector."