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Principal Author and Editor 21st Century Tech Blog

Futurist, Writer and Researcher, now retired, former freelance writer for new technology ventures. Former President & CEO of Len Rosen Marketing Inc., a marketing consulting firm focused on...

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  • Sep 9, 2019
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German startup has developed a flexible, scalable, hydrogen-from-water harvester. The technology has won numerous awards as as an energy transition technology.

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Thank Len for the Post!
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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Sep 9, 2019

The photo shows just how small & modular this tech would be-- makes me wonder 'what's the catch'? Do you have any idea about the efficiency and the cost of these units? 

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Len Rosen on Sep 9, 2019

Hi Matt, I have left a question on this very subject on the company website asking about the single module and the one displayed in the photograph. When I get the answer I will share it with you here.

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Matt Chester on Sep 9, 2019

Great-- appreciate it!

Len Rosen's picture
Len Rosen on Sep 11, 2019

Hi Matt, 

The company shared the following with me.

Enapter (www.enapter.com) was started in 2017 with the vision of a carbon-free energy systems fuelled and powered by sustainable renewable energy sources only. In such a scenario, hydrogen as an energy carrier is key to providing independence, reliability and security for all sectors (power, heat and transport) in any energy system. We aim to provide green, affordable onsite hydrogen for any use case. That may sound ambitious, but we are approaching hydrogen electrolysis with a completely new approach than what is currently the case in the marketplace. To do this, we continue to develop our unique AEM (anion exchange membrane) technology and begin scaling our manufacturing to industry standards. We want to produce cost-efficient hydrogen generators that are environmental friendly recyclable. 

Enapter’s unique approach can be well understood by drawing an analogy between the electrolyser industry today and the IT industry in 1980. Today’s manufacturers of large-scale electrolysers are developing systems comparable to the IT Industry’s early "Mainframes". Each system is designed as an individual project, demanding highly sophisticated engineers and planning processes. Enapter is mimicking the introduction of the PC: a product that is small, modular and scalable. The new Enapter Electrolyser 2.0 has unique characteristics and capabilities poised to disrupt the storage and fuel markets.

Cost-efficient and easy-to-install hydrogen generators can be used by farmers, commercial enterprises or housing estates; they can be used off-grid in mini grids or in inaccessible telecommunication towers; they can supply hydrogen refueling stations but we also sell a lot of systems to industry today that are using hydrogen onsite as gas.

Especially due to the personal background of the founder Sebastian-Justus Schmidt (successful software entrepreneur from Hamburg) we focus on the development of unique and user-friendly energy management software. This enables integrators and installers to simple and intuitive integration of our product into all imaginable energy system constellations. We believe that with an easy-to-install (scalable to any size) hydrogen generator in combination with plug-and-play software, we can quickly play a role in the marketplace.

We produce the patented Anion Exchange Membrane (AEM) electrolyser, which is a compact, modular and stackable system to produce hydrogen. Each unit produces 500 NL/hr of onsite (green) hydrogen with 99.95% purity. With an optional dryer module 99.999% purity can be achieved. The electrolyser can be stacked to reach any flowrates needed. 

The system is straightforward to set up due to its standardised design. It can be rack-mounted in any standard 19” cabinet or other enclosure. Another advantage is that the AEM electrolyser is very tolerant of water input quality compared to other products in the market. We only require clean water input with a conductivity of <20microS/cm. Ordinary tap water or even rainwater that is filtered via a standard Resin/RO process can be used. The best way to control them is via our Enapter energy management system, which allows full monitoring and control via a web dashboard and mobile app. It also collects monitoring data to enable excellent service of the system.

While we are focussed scaling our electrolyser manufacturing, we do provide a dryer module, integration in cabinets, a water purification module and water storage tank if customers are asking for it. We are very much interested in finding integrators, EPCs, IPPs or installers that wish to integrate our electrolyser into any kind of energy solution.

In a follow-up email when I asked about the cost this was the reply I received.

As for the question for the specific project in Münster, please understand that we value the trustful relationship with our customers and also considering GDPR rules, we cannot provide more information than you can find online already on this project. Thanks for your understanding. 

If some of the people from the linkedin energy utilities have hydrogen projects and need an electrolyser, then we obviously happy to receive information from them and to discuss about their projects with them.

So I would suggest Matt, that you contact them directly through their website to see if they are willing to be more forthright about pricing with you than they have been with me. I think the response tells you that this is a business at the early startup phase still perfecting its technology without consideration of commercial cost. More a proof-of-concept at this stage with a some early adopters doing live field trials. 

 

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Sep 11, 2019

Really appreciate you doing that legwork, Len.

 

I think the response tells you that this is a business at the early startup phase still perfecting its technology without consideration of commercial cost. More a proof-of-concept at this stage with a some early adopters doing live field trials. 

Agreed that this is indeed what it sounds like to me too

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Len Rosen on Sep 17, 2019

The latest news from Enapter about Electrolyser. Mentions cost reductions but not price. And states that hydrogen generation will now be far more affordable. See this press announcement:

PISA, Italy, September 17, 2019 - Enapter, a manufacturer of modular hydrogen electrolysers, announced today the unveiling of its new serial fabrication facility in Pisa. The revamped manufacturing process will increase Enapter’s production capacity eightfold and reduce electrolyser costs by more than 20 percent. These improvements can make onsite hydrogen generation an affordable reality for a multitude of applications worldwide, including energy storage, backup power, power-to-heat, industrial hydrogen production and hydrogen-based mobility.

Hydrogen generation has the potential to play a key role in the clean energy transition but has been limited by cost and scalability. Enapter’s EL 2.0 electrolyser addresses these challenges through its patented Anion Exchange Membrane (AEM) technology. With a simple balance of plant and no noble metals needed, Enapter’s AEM reduces costs and increases lifetime performance of hydrogen generation. Serial fabrication allows Enapter to deploy the current EL 2.0 hydrogen generator to an even larger customer base while creating capacity for the forthcoming EL 2.1 product.  

“This new facility marks a major milestone for us,” said Sebastian-Justus Schmidt, Chairman of Enapter. “Our mission is to make green hydrogen generation cheaper than fossil fuels. As we look ahead, this process will help us mass produce our electrolysers for projects around the world. This is a crucial step into making hydrogen electrolysers into a standardized, valuable commodity that can compete with outdated legacy energy sources.”

As a stackable system, facilities of all sizes use the EL 2.0. Current applications generating hydrogen from Enapter electrolysers include island mini grids, seasonal energy storage in the Alps, residential heating in the Netherlands, renewable methane production in Australia, nitrogen purification in Portugal, fuel cell drone refueling in China and many more. To learn more about Enapter’s solutions,

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