Projects 19.03.2024

Danfoss to boost hydrogen production with energy-efficient technology

Energy efficiency is undoubtedly a key to successful production of green hydrogen, and there are still several ways to improve it. The technology provider Danfoss pays particular attention to energy savings in power conversion and heat recovery.

Electrolysers are essential in green hydrogen production. They are devices that use direct current (DC) to convert electrical energy into chemical energy by splitting water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen gases. As power grids typically supply alternating current (AC), every electrolyser needs to be equipped with an AC to DC converter, also called a rectifier.

All electronic devices require power converters to function, but there is a drawback. Power converters always waste some power during the conversion process, and they can affect the quality of the power output unless they are well-designed and maintained. Therefore, every step of power conversion is very important for industries that consume a lot of power, such as hydrogen production.

“We support the growing hydrogen economy by supplying high-quality AC to DC converters, which improve the efficiency of hydrogen production and lengthen the life cycle of electrolysers,” says Olli-Pekka Aalto, Head of Global Energy & Power at Danfoss Drives, and a member of the Hydrogen Cluster Finland Steering Group. Danfoss is a global leader in power conversion technology.

Aalto explains that the conversion technology developed and designed by Danfoss ensures efficient power conversion and minimizes the adverse effects on power quality.

From power converters to heat exchangers

To improve the energy efficiency of hydrogen production, minimizing heat loss is crucial. Typically, more than 30 percent of electric energy used in electrolysis turns to heat.

“The efficiency of each component, such as transformers, converters and electrolysers, is important for the overall process. However, a heat recovery system is also essential to reduce energy losses and improve performance,” Aalto says.

Besides AC to DC converters, Danfoss specializes on heat exchangers and heat recovery units and has already equipped several hydrogen plants with them.

Ecosystem of developers in Finland

The electrolyser is undeniably the main cause of energy loss in the hydrogen economy, but Aalto argues that focusing on it is not enough to make new value chains, or networks, cost-effective. He says that all equipment suppliers and plant developers need to work together to improve the efficiency and reduce the costs of the whole system. This is one of the reasons Danfoss created the “Fossil Free Future” program last year and is now building an ecosystem for research, development and innovation as the leader of the program. Business Finland funds the program with 10 million euros.

“Our experience in working within ecosystems has taught us the value of collaboration. We develop and manufacture all our drives and converters in Vaasa, Finland, where we are surrounded by 180 tech companies that export globally. We are always open to more opportunities for cooperation.”

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