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thyssenkrupp’s water electrolysis technology qualified as primary control reserve in Germany; hydrogen production for the electricity market

thyssenkrupp’s proprietary water electrolysis technology for the production of green hydrogen meets the requirements for participation in the primary control reserve market. In the future thyssenkrupp’s electrolysis plants will be able to act as large-scale buffers to stabilize the power grid and compensate fluctuations quickly and flexibly. Operators can now link their plants to the German electricity market via E.ON’s virtual power plant.

With this we have achieved a further important goal. Earlier tests already demonstrated that our electrolysis plants can produce green hydrogen highly efficiently and with sufficient response speed and flexibility to participate in the energy balancing market. Our plants are thus making a significant contribution to ensuring both a stable power supply and the cost-effectiveness of green hydrogen.

—Christoph Noeres, Head of the Energy Storage & Hydrogen unit at thyssenkrupp

thyssenkrupp and E.ON conducted the necessary tests jointly in an existing water electrolysis plant operating as part of the Carbon2Chem project (earlier post) in Duisburg. It was shown that thyssenkrupp’s electrolyzers can increase and decrease their production at the speed required to participate in the premium primary reserve market. Prerequisites include being able to provide full supply within max. 30 seconds and maintain it for at least 15 minutes.

In order to bring the fluctuating availability of electricity from renewable sources into line with electricity demand, solutions are needed for the storage and subsequent use of surplus energy. Water electrolysis produces green hydrogen that can be stored for hours, days or months, converted back into electricity or used as a clean, CO2-free starting material in the mobility sector or for the production of sustainable chemicals.

Another central requirement is the need to stabilize the power grid against short-term fluctuations. As a two-in-one solution, thyssenkrupp’s industrial-scale water electrolysis process meets both criteria, allowing operators maximum flexibility and cost-efficiency: Hydrogen production is ramped up within seconds when surplus energy needs to be used and scaled back when output is low. Plant operators can market their willingness to adapt flexibly to general electricity demand and thus generate additional revenues.

As part of the Carbon2Chem project, thyssenkrupp’s alkaline water electrolysis unit is already successfully supplying hydrogen for the production of chemicals from steel mill waste gases. In 2018 methanol was produced from steel mill gases for the first time. In the following year the production of ammonia succeeded. By contrast with conventional production methods, this process does not require fossil fuels such as natural gas, thus reducing CO2 emissions in both steelmaking and chemical production. The technology can also be used in other industries such as cement production.

We can already offer our customers economically viable solutions for energy storage and the production of sustainable chemicals. In this way we are making our contribution to building a stable and sustainable cross-sector energy system. Another good example is sustainable ammonia: With water electrolysis and our leading ammonia production process, we can supply integrated plants that produce ammonia from nothing but water, air and sunlight or wind.

—Sami Pelkonen, CEO of thyssenkrupp’s Chemical & Process Technologies business unit

The starting point for all sustainable value chains and an integrated energy system across the electricity, heat, mobility and industry sectors is large-scale water electrolysis. The technology is based on decades of experience gained by thyssenkrupp in chlor-alkali electrolysis. The patented design of the electrolysis cells allows system efficiencies of more than 80%. The electrolysis units are supplied as prefabricated 20 MW modules and can be combined easily into hydrogen plants with capacities in the multi-megawatt to gigawatt range.



This is great, esp the efficiency and large scale availability.

I see a bright future for green fuels in industry and seasonal storage.

I still dont want to see it near my house, h2 being a dangerous material, but professionals should be able handle it properly in large scale plants.


Some electrolysis units even have sub second response times, which means that all power fluctuations in the grid can be dealt with by the technology.
That does not mean that that will invariably be the optimum strategy, and no doubt batteries still have a part to play, but the days of wasteful spinning reserve are clearly numbered.


@ soltesza
"The patented design of the electrolysis cells allows system efficiencies of more than 80%".
80.01% is also More than 80%. What is the actual efficiency rating? Why was is it not stated? However, a rating around 80% is not overwhelming. Normally, efficiency of electrolysis is around 70 %. FCs have an efficiency of 60%. Reconverting H² derived at 70% to electricity =s 70% x 60% or 42%. Reconverting H² derived at 80% to electricity =s 80% x 60% or 48%. The loss in efficiency is still over 50% and that is not, in my eyes, to be seen as admirable. That is an improvement in efficiency of 6% compared to conventional electrolysis. The pathway over batteries is still far, far better.


SOFC with turbine can be 80%,
SOEC with waste heat from the SOFC is be 80%,
a combined 60%+ is there, pumped hydro is 70%.

Roger Pham

Batteries will be used for applications that doesn't need heat. FC will be used for application that can also use the waste heat of the FC unit, such as providing for home electricity during sun down period with waste heat from the FC used for home water heating, with the potential for 100% efficiency of utilization.
In the winter when the solar energy is very weak, the FC can provide power all day while supplying waste heat for office and home heating. Winter driving in FCV can use the waste heat from the FC for cabin heating and windshield defrosting.

A plug-in FCV (PFCV) can take advantage of both the efficiency of battery and the rapid fill-up of the H2 storage, as well as the battery-sparing advantage of a H2 storage system, permitting a PFCV to have superior range to a long-range FCV, yet using only 1/5 to 1/6 of the battery capacity.


@ Roger Pham
An old known technology - magneto-caloric (discovered 1880) - is becoming a heated competition to all devices based on the Carnot-Principle. It does not use poisonous gases or fossils, just plain water and is almost twice as efficient as any Carnot device. As far as the elementary structure (design) of the implemented alloy material is concerned, there is still room for improvement to further enhance efficiency. The resulting achievement will be highly efficient and absolutely silent using only an electric current to power it.
It'll replace our fridges, deep freezers, and heat pumps that can be used to heat our vehicles and homes.
3D solid state cells printed with 3D-printers will dominate the world market within the next 10 years for just about any battery application with negligible charging times. Really, who needs FCs and excessive H² tech?

Manuel Penhascoso

How efficient is this electrolysis technology from
thyssenkrupp, that is, how many kw does it take to produce one kilogram of hydrogen?

Roger Pham

No heat pump nor heat engine can exceed Carnot limit. This is the second law of Thermodynamic that cannot be violated. The current vapor-compression AC and heat pump is as efficient as it can get. Peltier junction heat pump is far less efficient.

It is not possible to store a season's worth of energy using battery. Hydrogen permits seasonal scale e-storage, from the energy surplus of Springs and Falls for use in Winters and Summers. Many car makers are having problem with enough battery supply to make PHEV, because making enough battery for only 500,000 long-range BEV requires $5 Billion investment into the Battery GigaFactory. If we will make PHEV and Plug-in FCV instead, we will be able to make 2.5 millions to 3 millions of those Plug-in vehicles for the same $5 Billion investment. So, PFCV represents far more efficiency for the money invested in battery production facility.


@ Roger Pham
Presently, there are magneto-caloric devices running at an efficiency approx. 35% higher than Carnot devices. The theoretical limit is around 70% higher than Carnot. Research is striving to improve to at least 50% better than Carnot.
Irregardless, if you like or not, Carnot devices are marching on death row.

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