Sunfire receives grant support for scaling up electrolyser technologies

Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Robert Habeck and Saxony's Minister for Economic Affairs Martin Dulig personally handed over the 169-million-euro grant notification – part of the “Important Projects of Common European Interest” (IPCEI) - to Sunfire, which specialises in the production of large-scale electrolysers.
Sunfire receives grant support for scaling up electrolyser technologies
Courtesy of Sunfire.

Sunfire is using the grant money to establish the first industrial series production of its electrolysis technologies. Electrolysers are needed in the industry for the production of green hydrogen. The company is therefore investing around 400 million euros in setting up industrial series production of its technologies and validating them in Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia. Through the EU's IPCEI initiative, the electrolysis provider will receive a total of 169 million euros (162 million euros for setting up series production in Saxony; 7 million euros for North Rhine-Westphalia).

“Thanks to the grant, we can proceed faster and much more extensively than we would be able to with our own financial resources” said Sunfire CEO Nils Aldag. “IPCEI is our catalyst on the way to gigawatt production – and that's why today is a great day for us.”

IPCEI projects are ones of outstanding European interest that make an important contribution to growth, employment and competitiveness of the European economy by means of government funding. The federal government provides 70 percent of the funding, while 30 percent comes from the respective German states.

“We will repay the trust that policymakers have placed in us with this extensive funding” added Mr Aldag. “We are investing in technologies that will advance the transformation of our industry and thus make an important contribution to climate neutrality. At the same time, the electrolysis industry offers Germany as a business location one of the greatest opportunities of the century. In Dresden, we are building one of the leading companies in this sector and creating sustainable added value and jobs.”

In the summer of 2022, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) granted Sunfire an early start of action. In order not to lose any time, the Dresden-based company then made investments at its own risk – primarily in the area of pressurised alkaline technology, which is already being installed for customers such as RWE and Uniper. While Sunfire celebrated the start of series production of this technology as early as March 2023, the next step is picking up speed in terms of industrial production of the innovative high-temperature electrolysers (SOEC), which achieve particularly high efficiencies.

The European Commission announced at the end of 2020 that it would massively accelerate the ramp-up of the green hydrogen market via IPCEI. Europe committed itself to green hydrogen as a key element of the energy transition. The fact that the first grant notifications are now being issued is an important signal for the entire industry.

“In the coming years we want to build up a high-performance hydrogen infrastructure” said Robert Habeck, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action. “Sufficient electrolysers that can be used to produce the energy carrier in a climate-friendly way are a basic prerequisite for this. To achieve the ambitious goals of the National Hydrogen Strategy, we need industrial and automated production capacities for electrolysers. At the same time, we want to consolidate and expand the technological leadership of German companies in the production of electrolysers. I am therefore delighted to hand over the grant to Sunfire for the construction of a production facility for electrolysers. At the same time, it is an important signal for Saxony as a business location, where future-proof jobs are being created and the foundations are being laid for a successful, robust hydrogen economy in Germany.”

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