Heliogen and Bloom Energy demonstrate production of low-cost green hydrogen; concentrated solar and high-temp electrolysis
Heliogen and Bloom Energy have successfully demonstrated the production of green hydrogen by integrating the companies’ technologies: Heliogen’s concentrated solar energy system and the Bloom Electrolyzer.
Heliogen’s AI-enabled concentrated solar energy system is designed to create carbon-free steam, electricity, and heat from abundant and renewable sunlight. When combined with Bloom’s proprietary solid oxide, high-temperature electrolyzer, hydrogen can be produced 45% more efficiently than low-temperature PEM and alkaline electrolyzers.
Electricity accounts for nearly 80% of the cost of hydrogen from electrolysis. By using less electricity, hydrogen production is more economical and accelerates adoption. In addition, the ability to use heat, which is a much lower cost source of energy than electricity, further improves the economics of green hydrogen production.
Heliogen’s concentrated solar technology is different than traditional photovoltaic solar; it facilitates hydrogen generation for longer periods of time, operating near 24/7 by storing the solar energy, resulting in more compact and lower cost production. The extended operating time of Heliogen’s technology and Bloom Energy’s ability to utilize heat efficiently is designed to reduce the cost of green hydrogen production compared to competing solutions.
Bloom Energy officially introduced the Bloom Electrolyzer in July 2021. The Bloom Electrolyzer relies on the same, commercially proven and proprietary solid oxide technology platform used by Bloom Energy Servers to provide on-site electricity at high fuel efficiency. Highly flexible, the electrolyzer offers unique advantages for deployment across a broad variety of hydrogen applications, using multiple energy sources including intermittent renewable energy and excess heat.
Because it operates at high temperatures, the Bloom Electrolyzer requires less energy to break up water molecules and produce hydrogen. As a result, Bloom Energy’s electrolyzer consumes 15% less electricity than other electrolyzer technologies to make hydrogen when electricity is the sole input source.
Unlike low-temperature PEM and alkaline electrolyzers that predominantly require electricity to make hydrogen, the Bloom Electrolyzer can leverage both electricity and heat to produce hydrogen. Bloom Energy’s high-temperature electrolyzer technology has the potential to use up to 45% less electricity when integrated with external heat sources than low-temperature PEM and alkaline electrolyzers.
Hydrogen use is forecast to grow from 115 million metric tonnes currently to 500-800 million metric tonnes a year by 2050, accounting for 15 to 20 percent of total global energy demand. Hydrogen projects already announced represent over $300 billion in spending across the value chain, and McKinsey & Company analysts expect at least $150 billion of that spend to be related to hydrogen production, which Heliogen and Bloom Energy are addressing through their collaboration.
The companies said that their successful demonstration is an important step forward towards the goal of replacing fossil-derived fuels with green hydrogen in commercial and industrial applications. Responsible for more than one-third of the world’s energy consumption and a quarter of global CO2 emissions, industrial companies are particularly well-suited for low-cost, large-scale hydrogen utilization given their substantial energy requirements and notable carbon emissions.
Our demonstration project with Bloom Energy represents a significant leap toward full commercial-scale green hydrogen production, which will play an important role in decarbonizing heavy industry. Following this successful integration of Heliogen’s near-24/7 solar steam generation with the Bloom Electrolyzer, we expect that commercial projects will use Heliogen technology to supply their electric power as well, providing 100 percent of the thermal and electrical energy required to produce green hydrogen.—Bill Gross, founder and CEO of Heliogen
Heliogen and Bloom Energy plan to continue their testing efforts and look forward to sharing further information at a future date.