Neste, the leading provider of renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel, and an expert in delivering drop-in renewable chemical solutions, has acquired a minority stake in Sunfire GmbH, a developer of high-temperature electrolysis technology. The company’s patented technology allows the production of renewable hydrogen as well as the direct conversion of water and CO2 into raw material for petrochemical products.
Over the past decade, Neste has transformed itself from a regional oil refining company into a global leader in renewable and circular solutions through breakthrough innovation. As part of Neste’s growth strategy, we continue to focus on innovation with the aim to develop the existing businesses and build new growth business platforms. One of these fields of innovation is Power-to-X.
The key technology in the Power-to-X platform is electrolysis. It enables the production of emission-free renewable hydrogen and conversion of CO2 into fuels, chemicals and materials. Thus it transforms a problem into a solution. Sunfire’s highly efficient technology and world-class expertise in Power-to-X, together with our proven track record in commercializing new sustainable technologies, provides an excellent basis for further development of the Power-to-X solutions.—Neste President and CEO Peter Vanacker
In addition to Neste’s equity investment in Sunfire, both companies will work together to demonstrate the production of renewable hydrogen at Neste’s refinery with Sunfire’s high-temperature electrolyzer. The demonstration is an important milestone in the commercialization of Sunfire’s technology and supports Neste in developing new sustainable solutions for Neste’s current business and future growth.
Sunfire GmbH, founded in 2010, develops and produces high-temperature electrolyzers (SOEC) and high-temperature fuel cells (SOFC) based on solid oxide cell technology. High-temperature electrolysis (HTE) generates hydrogen from steam powered by renewable electricity. The use of steam instead of liquid water for electrolysis significantly increases the efficiency of the process and is specifically well-suited for industrial application where process heat is available.
In October 2019, Sunfire signed a cooperation agreement with the French major energy company Total SA. Sunfire will provide a megawatt-scale high temperature electrolyzer for use in industrial environments as part of the E-CO2MET research and development project. The company will also be responsible for the integration at the site as well as the operation and maintenance of the electrolyzer, which will be the first step for the industrial-scale production of synthetic methanol from renewables and industrial concentrated CO2 from the Total Raffinerie Mitteldeutschland GmbH.