Sunrise brief: 20 MW Cummins electrolyzer is producing green hydrogen


Cummins said it has provided a 20 MW PEM electrolyzer system to generate green hydrogen, making it one of the largest in operation in the world.

The electrolyzer system is installed at an Air Liquide hydrogen production facility in Bécancour, Quebec, and began commercial operation in late 2020. The electrolyzer is designed to produce more than 3,000 tons of hydrogen annually using hydropower.

The HyLYZER PEM electrolyzer technology was developed by Hydrogenics, a Canadian company acquired by Cummins in September 2019. The installation in Quebec features four compact pressurized electrolyzer skids placed inside an existing building. The company said this modular and scalable electrolyzer platform is designed to address utility-scale hydrogen production.

Cummins said its PEM electrolyzers enable making use of excess energy that would typically be sold off to the market at a financial loss, or not harnessed at all. It said its elecrolyzers can also be used to decarbonize multiple sectors including zero-emission transportation, industrial processes, and the green chemicals sector.

In addition to acquiring Hydrogenics, Cummins formed a joint venture with NPROXX to produce hydrogen storage tanks, and has invested in solid oxide fuel cell development.

Salient wins CEC grant

Zinc-ion battery developer Salient Energy received a $1.58 million grant from the California Energy Commission to support the design and assembly of the company’s residential energy storage systems.

Salient will utilize the funding to open an office and engineering facility in Oakland, California, in the second quarter. The funding will also allow Salient to hire a team of engineers to design and assemble zinc-ion residential energy storage systems that the company says offers an alternative to lithium-ion.

At the new facility, Salient will develop, field test, and validate its battery prototype applications for residential storage systems. The company’s goal is to advance the technology from a pre-commercial stage to the technology demonstration stage where it can then be validated and scaled.

Ingeteam power stations

Ingeteam said it supplied and commissioned 53 of its solar PV power stations for the 160 MW Rancho Seco II solar plant in California. The fixed-tilt PV facility is in Sacramento County and was built by Rosendin Electric for DE Shaw Renewable Investments.

Ingeteam’s power station includes a 3.38 MW PV inverter, an LV panel, an auxiliary services transformer, and a MV pad-mounted transformer, all of which are supplied mounted on top of the same skid platform.

Energy generated at the Rancho Seco solar PV is being sold to a utility offtaker through a long-term power purchase agreement. The plant occupies the site of the decommissioned Rancho Seco nuclear power plant, which stopped its operations in 1989.

The inverters include 1500 Vdc technology, DC string monitoring, and an AC pre-charge system for injecting up to 100% reactive power at night.

Ingeteam is an international technology group that is based in Spain and that specializes in energy conversion technology.

An end to “energy apartheid”?

The Energy for Growth Hub, a non-profit global network of researchers, advocates and policymakers, and its partner The Rockefeller Foundation, released a report calling on the adoption of a new “Modern Energy Minimum” they say will end energy poverty and avert a potential “energy apartheid.”

In the report, The Modern Energy Minimum: The case for a new global electricity consumption threshold, 14 co-authors propose a new metric to measure progress on addressing energy poverty. They say that every person should have access to at least 1,000 kWh per capita per year, measured both within the home and throughout the wider economy.

The goal “raises the bar” to enable everyone to access a higher standard of public services such as electrified schools and health clinics, the report says.

Image: David Wagman

The current standard metric is 100 kWh of annual residential power consumption, a level that the report says falls to 50 kWh in rural areas. The authors say that is only enough energy to power a couple of lightbulbs and charge a mobile phone.

“This target is too low in comparison to modern living standards and does not account for the majority of electricity used outside the home,” the report says.

The report says that every high-income country consumes more than 3,000 kWh per capita annually and median consumption is 6,720 kWh. And, about 70% of electricity consumption is used in industry, commerce, agriculture, transportation, or public services.

Set at 1,000 kWh of consumption, the modern energy minimum would match the World Bank’s midpoint for lower-middle income status of around $2,500 per capita/year or about $6.85 per capita/day. Requiring consumption of at least 300 kWh at home plus at least 700 kWh in the wider economy “raises the bar to enable everybody to not only run basic appliances but to access a higher standard of public services such as electrified schools and health clinics,” the report says.

The authors say that central to achieving the goal will be accelerating efforts to bring reliable electricity via environmentally-friendly technologies to over a billion energy-poor people by 2030.

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