Shell Considers Bloom Energy's SOEC Tech for Producing Hydrogen
Shell Considers Bloom Energy's SOEC Tech for Producing Hydrogen

Shell Considers Bloom Energy's SOEC Tech for Producing Hydrogen

  • 07-Mar-2024 5:29 PM
  • Journalist: Motoki Sasaki

Shell is presently exploring the potential application of Bloom Energy's solid oxide electrolyser (SOEC) technology to produce hydrogen within its operations. This endeavor involves a collaborative effort with Bloom Energy to develop scalable and large-scale SOEC systems aimed at generating hydrogen for potential deployment across Shell's assets. The adoption of these systems is perceived as a crucial advancement that could significantly contribute to decarbonizing various challenging-to-abate sectors.

Hydrogen plays a crucial role in refining processes, serving to enhance the quality of petroleum products and facilitate the processing of diverse crude oils. Currently, the predominant method for hydrogen production in refining relies on unabated fossil fuel processes. Acknowledging the urgent need to mitigate carbon emissions, Shell has been actively exploring electrolyser technology as a means to decarbonize its existing refineries. As part of these efforts, Shell Deutschland secured a 100MW capacity reservation with ITM Power in December 2023 for its proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolyser stacks, designed for hydrogen production at the Rhineland facility.

The SOEC technology is distinguished by high-temperature electrolysis for hydrogen production. This innovative approach utilizes a solid ceramic material as the electrolyte, enabling water splitting at temperatures of up to 800°C. The elevated temperature significantly reduces the electrical energy input required for the process, rendering it more efficient compared to conventional low-temperature electrolysis methods.

In May 2023, Bloom Energy achieved a noteworthy milestone by commissioning a 4MW SOEC system at a NASA research center in California, United States. During this deployment, Bloom Energy reported that the SOEC system demonstrated the capability to generate 20-25% more hydrogen per megawatt compared to commercially demonstrated low-temperature electrolyser technologies.

Shell plc, headquartered in London, is a British multinational oil and gas corporation. As a significant player in the Big Oil sector, Shell ranks as the second-largest investor-owned oil and gas company globally and stands among the world's largest corporations across all industries. Shell operates across the entire oil and gas value chain, engaging in exploration, production, refining, transportation, distribution, marketing, petrochemicals, power generation, and trading.

Bloom Energy, headquartered in San Jose, California, is a publicly traded American company. Specializing in solid oxide fuel cells, it manufactures and markets systems capable of onsite electricity generation. Established in 2001, Bloom Energy emerged from stealth mode in 2010. The company's flagship product is the Bloom Energy Server, a solid oxide fuel cell power generator that operates using either natural gas or biogas as its fuel source.

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