Norwegian equipment company Nel has teamed up with First Solar in the US to develop integrated plants that generate hydrogen from solar cells for electric cars driven by fuel cells.
Subsidiary Nel Hydrogen Electrolyser will work with First Solar on an integrated power plant control and Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system. The network architecture will enable optimization of PV-electrolyser hybrid projects, resulting in the lowest total cost of hydrogen and electricity. The two companies then explore further ways to optimise and integrate the technology elements throughout the solar and hydrogen production plant.
Nel has detailed plans to produce hydrogen from renewable sources at $1.50/kg (€1.24/kg) to compete with petrol and diesel.
Scaling up of production to multi-GW scale, growing the organization to add capacities and capabilities, and investing in technology for the near- and long-term are crucial components in the strategy, says Nel CEO Jon André Løkke.
This is backed up by a major project to convert a coal power station in Hamburg, Germany, into a massive 100MW hydrogen electrolyser.
"We are very excited to announce the collaboration with First Solar, a leading global manufacturer of solar panels and developer of utility-scale solar power plants. We will leverage our capabilities to extend our common product offering the end customer with a target to be able to deliver the lowest total cost of solar to hydrogen," said Løkke at Nel.
“With our environmentally advantaged, responsibly-produced CadTel technology, we are well-positioned to address the market need for large-scale green hydrogen with the lowest carbon solar electricity available today,” said Mark Widmar, chief executive officer, First Solar. “We are excited to collaborate with Nel, a leader in the production, storage, and distribution of hydrogen from renewable energy sources, to develop integrated PV-hydrogen power plants. As solar energy becomes mainstream, this is an excellent example of how we will power the new alternatives.”
First Solar is a leading American solar technology company and global provider of responsibly-produced eco-efficient solar modules advancing the fight against climate change. Developed at R&D labs in California and Ohio, the company’s advanced thin film PV modules represent the next generation of solar technologies, providing a competitive, high-performance, lower-carbon alternative to conventional crystalline silicon PV panels. From raw material sourcing and manufacturing through end-of-life module recycling, First Solar’s approach to technology embodies sustainability and a responsibility towards people and the planet.
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