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Fig 1 Electrolyzer


Hydrogen electrolyzers at a glance


Much attention has been paid to hydrogen (H2) and its potential role in combating climate change.  As a result, H2 produced thru electrolysis of water via electricity obtained from renewable sources (green H2: GH2) is gaining momentum around the world.


Electrolysis efficiency


Producing H2 from water electrolysis is one of the worst energy-intensive ways to get the fuel: about 30 to 35% of the energy used to produce GH2 is lost during the process, meaning that to get 1 MWh of H2, around 1.5 MWh of electricity are needed [CEPS, 2021].  Also, H2 is a gas that is difficult to handle: due to its low volumetric energy density, it has to be compressed at high pressures (up to 700 bar) to be packed into a tank in sufficient quantities to power a vehicle.


Potencial GH2 producer


Since large part of the total cost of GH2 production refers to the cost of the electricity needed for the electrolysis process, Brazil takes the lead for having a predominantly renewable electricity mix (83,4% of the electricity mix, ANEEL-Mar/2023), especially due to the great potential for hydroelectric generation (57,4% of the electricity mix, ANEEL-Mar/2023), but also due to the increasing share of non-conventional renewable energy sources, represented by wind & solar PV plants.


Electrolyzer installations & manufacturers


Global installations of electrolyzers are set to expand by a factor of 120 (from 2 GW today to 242 GW) by 2030, according to BNEF.  Total electrolyzer manufacturing capacity is expected to double over the next year, with alkaline systems (ALK) maintaining their lead over the alternative PEM electrolyzers  [BNEF, 2023].


However, there is a fear among Western manufacturers that electrolyzer makers in China, which often receive financial support from the state, would be able to sell their equipment around the world at far lower prices (just as they did w/ solar PV tech) [H2 Insight, Nov/2022].


According to BNEF, Chinese electrolyzer makers Longi, Peric, and Sungrow are leading the global market in terms of annual manufacturing capacity, and Belgium's John Cockerill, in joint 4th place, but producing most of its electrolyzers in China.  However, several Western electrolyzer makers, such as Plug Power, ITM Power, and Thyssenkrupp are due to catch up over the next year [H2 Insight, Nov/2022].


Figure 1 and Figure 2 show BNEF’s top 10 electrolyzer manufacturers in the world (by expected annual manufacturing capacity) at the end of 2022 and 2023, respectively.  Figure 3 shows other global leading electrolyzer manufacturers in 2022 according to the Cicenergigune website.

Figure 1: BNEF’s top 10 electrolyzer manufacturers - 2022

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Figure 2: BNEF’s top 10 electrolyzer manufacturers - 2023

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Figure 3: Some of the world's leading hydrogen electrolyzer manufacturers

Fig2 electr
Fig3 electrolyzer
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