25 years of H-TEC SYSTEMS – Hydrogen specialist on the road to success

Source: press release, 28 June 2022

HCS module concept for scalable electrolysis power in the multi-megawatt range enables large CO₂ savings by using green hydrogen
HCS module concept for scalable electrolysis power in the multi-megawatt range enables large CO₂ savings by using green hydrogen (illustration: H-TEC SYSTEMS)

The hydrogen experts at H-TEC SYSTEMS are celebrating their 25th anniversary this year. Growing from one of the first players in the German hydrogen industry into a leading provider of PEM electrolysis technology has been closely linked to the dynamic development of the green hydrogen market. Today, with its PEM electrolysers and stacks, the company develops and produces the key technologies for the production of green hydrogen using electricity from renewable sources, thus providing fuel for the age of hydrogen. One of the company’s success factors is its corporate culture, because even after 25 years, H-TEC SYSTEMS has retained its start-up spirit and the team works enthusiastically on technical innovations.

After its founding in 1997, the initial focus of the young Lübeck based company called H-TEC Wasserstoff-Energie-Systeme GmbH, was on research and development and training courses in the field of hydrogen technologies. The first steps toward the industrial development of electrolysers were financed by the sale of teaching models for education as well as the organisation of student competitions in North Rhine-Westphalia.

The year 2010 marked a milestone and decisive turning point in the company’s history: GP JOULE, a Schleswig-Holstein-based group of companies in the renewable energy sector, took over the young hydrogen pioneer and began a strategic reorientation. In addition to the production of small electrolysers and PEM stacks, larger electrolysers were now also in development. In 2017, H-TEC SYSTEMS took PEM electrolysis to a new dimension with a 225 kW electrolyser. In 2019, the next era began with the entry of MAN Energy Solutions (a Volkswagen Group company) as an investor – initially with a 40% share. With this support, H-TEC SYSTEMS put reference plants into operation and launched an electrolyser with 1 MW capacity. In 2019, the company’s headquarters were relocated to Augsburg.

In mid-2021, the company was completely taken over by MAN Energy Solutions as sole owner, a move that optimally supported the company’s rapid growth. In the first half of 2022, the market launch of the Hydrogen Cube System (HCS) – a module concept for individually expandable electrolysis systems marked the company’s entry into the multi-megawatt power class. At the same time, investments are being made in scaling up production and expanding the workforce. To meet the growing demand for technology for the industrial production of hydrogen from renewable energies, H-TEC SYSTEMS is now focusing on the development of large-scale plants with 10 megawatts and more.

H-TEC SYSTEMS is thus expanding to meet the exponential growth of the market. By 2025, green hydrogen production capacity is expected to grow to 5 GW per year. H-TEC SYSTEMS aims to be at the top of the game, with the vision of using green hydrogen to launch a new emission-free energy era. As part of the global net-zero strategy, the company aims to avoid 1% of global CO2 emissions with its products.

The hydrogen experts’ recipe for success includes not only innovative technologies and a comprehensive service concept, but also their many years of technological expertise. This is evidenced by numerous reference projects for sector integration, such as the Wind Gas project in Haurup, the eFarm project in North Friesland, an emission-free turbine test center in Sweden and others. Unlike any other company in the industry, H-TEC SYSTEMS builds on 25 years of experience in PEM electrolysis, combining the strengths of an independent, flexible setup with industrial experience.

H-TEC SYSTEMS sees the strong hydrogen market growth as an opportunity to create results in a very dynamic field of work: “This is only possible if we look for the right solutions together, remain open and ambitious, and communicate with each other as equals. We are always learning and improving ourselves, our structures and our products through teamwork, and now we are also looking to grow our team with new, motivated employees,” explains Robin von Plettenberg, CEO at H-TEC SYSTEMS.

“The start-up spirit is firmly anchored in our corporate culture. That’s why H-TEC SYSTEMS is often affectionately referred to by employees as the ‘oldest start-up in the world.’ We have very flat hierarchies and can be extremely agile and react quickly to market developments. Another decisive factor for this is our rapid growth since last year. We have been around for 25 years, but in the last year we have seen very extreme growth,” explains Frank Zimmermann, CFO at H-TEC SYSTEMS.

Michael Stamer is Head of Stack Assembly at the Braak site and, with over 20 years at the company, is one of the longest-serving employees: “It has been clear to me for a long time that hydrogen will play a major role in decarbonising the energy sector. In the early days, the potential of green hydrogen was underestimated, but now hydrogen has become the key technology for the energy transition and the decarbonisation of industry. I am proud for the opportunity to be an active shaper of the energy transition with H-TEC SYSTEMS.”