Sunfire acquires Swiss alkaline electrolysis company IHT

Source: press release, 12 January 2021

photo: Sunfire GmbH
photo: Sunfire GmbH

Sunfire GmbH has taken over IHT Industrie Haute Technology SA, a Monthey, Switzerland-based alkaline electrolysis company. With this acquisition, the Dresden based leader in green hydrogen continues to expand its portfolio to include high-pressure alkaline water electrolysis. The technology proves particularly suitable for use in environments where water steam is not readily available, such as the energy market or in hydrogen mobility.

The acquisition sees Sunfire take a 100 % stake in IHT. The company’s headquarters in Monthey, Switzerland, will continue to play an important role in the production of the stacks, which are the main component of the high-pressure alkaline electrolysers. In total, 240 MW of electrolysers were built based on IHT technology – the equivalent of more than 50,000 Nm3/h of hydrogen production. This year, IHT will supply and install Europe’s largest single-stack alkaline pressurised electrolyser to help regulate the power grid and produce green hydrogen for a project partner in Tyrol.

“With the alkaline pressure electrolyser developed by IHT, we have chosen the most mature and reliable technology currently available on the market. This acquisition represents an essential part of our growth strategy to strengthen and further expand our global market position as one of the world’s leading electrolysis suppliers. Our customers can now choose between our proven SOEC-based high-temperature electrolysis and high-pressure alkaline electrolysis, or even combine the two. Whether in an industrial environment or in smaller sized projects, we are proud to offer the optimal solution for every application, even for short-term deployment of plants at the scale of 100 MW,” says Nils Aldag, CEO of Sunfire.

For IHT, the acquisition represents a new era in the company’s long history. “Our proven alkaline technology and Sunfire’s SOEC solution complement each other perfectly. We’re extremely excited to contribute to Sunfire’s mission to grow green hydrogen and look forward to the collaboration between the two teams,” says Franco Nodari, CEO of IHT.

IHT’s technology, based on the Lurgi principle, was first developed in 1950, and has since proven itself in several industrial projects around the globe. The alkaline electrolysers have a remarkable system runtime of over 90,000 operating hours, function at up to 30 bar working pressure without the need for downstream compression and have a lifespan of more than 20 years. In addition, the system cost of alkaline electrolysers today compares favourably to competing technologies on the market.

Sunfire’s innovative SOEC-based high-temperature electrolysis technology was first developed in 2010 and most recently deployed in what is the world’s largest high- temperature electrolyser at the Salzgitter steel plant. The technology has proven to be particularly suitable for environments with industrial waste heat in the form of water steam. This steam is efficiently broken down into hydrogen and oxygen. SOEC electrolysis thus requires significantly less renewable electricity for the production of green hydrogen compared to other technologies.