German electrolyser manufacturer Sunfire is to expand series production of its pressurised alkaline and solid oxide machines across two separate factories, following the award of €169m ($184m) of public cash.

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Series production will allow Sunfire to massively ramp up output in two factories — in which the company is investing €400m — in Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia.

But the news comes as analysts found that global electrolyser manufacturers are scaling back expansion plans on the back of widespread green hydrogen project delays.

Sunfire already began series production of its pressurised alkaline electrolysers, which it is installing for customers such as RWE and Uniper, in March 2023, but it will now extend this to its solid-oxide products as well.

Sunfire chief executive Nils Adag said yesterday (Wednesday) that the grant, awarded as part of the EU’s Important Project of Common European Interest (IPCEI) programme, will allow the company to reach its GW-scale ambitions.

“Thanks to the grant, we can proceed faster and much more extensively than we would be able to with our own financial resources,” he said. “IPCEI is our catalyst on the way to gigawatt production – and that's why today is a great day for us.”

The IPCEI programme allows European projects to apply for subsidies from the EU and national governments without having to go through the EU’s strict competition regulations.

Last week Sunfire bagged a 100MW order for its pressurised alkaline electrolysers from an undisclosed European refinery.

The €169m grant comprises a €162m lump sum for the Saxony factory, and a further €7m for the facility in North Rhine-Westphalia.

70% of the funding has been provided by the federal German government and the EU combined, with the remaining 30% of each amount from the states of Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia respectively.

“In the coming years, we want to build efficient hydrogen infrastructure,” said Robert Habeck, Germany’s federal minister for economic affairs and climate protection. “Sufficient electrolysers, with which the energy source can be generated in a climate-friendly manner, are a basic requirement for this.”

He added: “In order to achieve the ambitious goals of the National Hydrogen Strategy, we need industrial and automated production capacities for electrolysers. At the same time, we want to consolidate and expand the technology leadership of German companies in the manufacture of electrolysers.”

Germany recently doubled its green hydrogen production capacity target to 10GW by 2030.