Sunfire achieves technological breakthrough, gains 25 million euros in funding and a new technology partner
In early January Life Size client Sunfire GmbH, developer and manufacturer of highly efficient electrolysers and fuel cells, secured 25 million euros venture capital in a series C financing round. The Luxembourg-based technology company Paul Wurth S.A. joined as the new lead investor. The company is part of SMS group, the worldwide leading provider of equipment and plants for the metals industry. A week later Sunfire announced a technological breakthrough for the energy revolution: the first successful co-electrolysis.
Thanks to the injection of fresh capital and with the support of a renowned partner, Sunfire will implement as from 2019 commercial multi-megawatt projects applying high-temperature electrolysis and Power-to-Liquid technology. For Paul Wurth, this partnership means a significant step in view of new technological developments leading to green steelmaking as well as an opportunity to enter the growing e-Fuels market.
Breakthrough for Power-to-X
A week later Sunfire announced the successful start-up and test run (> 500 hours) of a high-temperature co-electrolysis system at their Dresden site since November 2018. The technology, called SUNFIRE-SYNLINK, enables highly efficient production (in future approx. 80 % efficiency on an industrial scale) of synthesis gas in a single step using water, CO2 and green electricity. This significantly reduces investment and operating costs for Power-to-X projects (e-Crude, e-fuels). Sunfire is now aiming for rapid scaling and commercialisation for project partners such as Nordic Blue Crude in Norway. The goal is to further reduce investment and operating costs.
The technologies developed by Sunfire allow producing climate-neutral fuels and gases for sectors, which today can hardly do without fossil energy sources, such as heavy load transportation, aviation, steel industry or chemical industry. Green hydrogen is produced based on green electricity in an efficient high-temperature electrolyser, using waste heat generated for example by industrial processes.
In the latest product version, high-temperature electrolysis can not only reactivate water, but also CO2 and thus transform, in the most direct way, combustion off-gases into clean feedstock, replacing fossil oil or natural gas. The produced hydrogen can be used directly or can be transformed in further process steps into the CO2-neutral oil substitute e-Crude. In refineries, it can be further processed into e-gasoline, e-diesel and especially e-kerosene for aviation. Presently, Sunfire is building the first high-temperature electrolyser at megawatt scale.
Carl Berninghausen, CEO of Sunfire said:
“Thanks to our so far largest financing round we pave the way for the industrialisation of our technology validated in pilot plants. We experience daily how the interest for our solutions for energy transition is growing. For example, Salzgitter Flachstahl GmbH is counting on green hydrogen in a successful pilot project. Therewith we have already set a signal in the steel sector. With Paul Wurth joining the venture, we become a valuable partner for energy intensive industries. This milestone means for us an important step towards an industrial company, and we will now be able to expand our pure product business to service activities also in the field of projects.”
Georges Rassel, CEO of Paul Wurth said:
“Our collaboration with Sunfire clearly expresses our strategy to play a leading role in the upcoming transformation of the steel industry towards CO2-free steel production. Paul Wurth designs and supplies complete blast furnace plants, coke oven plants as well as by-product treatment facilities for the primary stage of integrated steelmaking. We would like to accompany our customers also in their journey to hydrogen-based hot metal production and support them to achieve climate protection targets.”
Founded in 2010, Sunfire GmbH develops and produces high-temperature electrolysers (SOEC) and high-temperature fuel cells (SOFC). The company employs 130 people. High-temperature electrolysis produces valuable hydrogen from water. It is particularly efficient and is powered by renewable electricity. In the latest version, high-temperature electrolysis can not only reactivate water, but also CO2 and thus transform, in the most direct way, combustion off-gases into clean feedstock, replacing mineral oil or natural gas. Thanks to this technology, the entire transport sector and many industrial processes, relying today on oil, gas or coal, can be transformed in a sustainable and CO2-neutral way. More information on www.sunfire.de