Air Liquide is to install Europe’s largest electrolyser on one of the sites of chemicals giant OQ Chemicals, right in the heart of the Ruhr, the industrial area in western Germany.
Called Trailblazer, this electrolyser is the twin of the one installed at the Becancour site in Quebec, which has been in service for two and a half years. With an initial capacity of 20 megawatts (MW), it could eventually reach 30 MW. Located alongside a grey hydrogen production unit using natural gas, the PEM electrolyser will enable the production of low-carbon renewable hydrogen. The target is 3,000 tonnes a year.
Pipelines for the Rhur region
Settling at the Oberhausen site was not a random choice. This industrial site is connected to Air Liquide’s hydrogen network, which is 240 kilometres long and can supply the rest of the region, where steel manufacturers, chemical producers and refineries are gathered.
The French group has already signed several contracts with mobility players and is in discussions with ThyssenKrupp Steel, Europe’s No. 2 steelmaker and Germany’s No. 1. ThyssenKrupp Steel plans to replace one of its four blast furnaces with a direct reduction unit (DRI) from January 2027, in order to move away from coal.
Air Liquide and Siemens partner up for an electrolyser gigafactory in Germany
Also, Air Liquide and Siemens Energy will be inaugurating an electrolyser gigafactory in Berlin on Wednesday. This is the result of their joint venture, formalised in June 2022. The factory represents an investment of €30 million (about $32 million). It will supply the key components for the 200 MW electrolyser that Air Liquide plans to run in Normandy by the end of 2026. Chancellor Olaf Scholz, German Economics Minister Robert Habeck and French Industry Minister Roland Lescure are expected to attend the opening ceremony.
Article written by Laurent Meillaud and translated by Logan King