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Topsoe reaches new milestone: SOEC demo reveals strong results


Topsoe reaches new milestone: SOEC demo reveals strong results

The demo, involving 12 stacks and 1200 cells, has successfully operated at a combined stack power of 350 kW. This power was maintained with high stability and efficiency over 2250 hours of operation. These findings are pivotal, highlighting the potential of SOEC technology to achieve exceptional efficiency and reliability at an industrial scale

Source: Topsoe

Innovative Strides in Frederikssund 

In an exciting development for the future of decarbonization, Topsoe has announced significant progress from its Solid Oxide Electrolysis Cell (SOEC) demonstration facility in Frederikssund.

In the autumn of 2023, Topsoe's team started running the SOEC core’s first demonstration test under industrial conditions. Initiating this phase of testing marks a significant milestone for Topsoe, a company that first began exploring the potentials of solid-oxide electrolysis cells under Haldor Topsoe’s leadership in 1989. This is just the beginning.

Embracing transparency for collective progress 

In creating technologies that will contribute to and shape the future of the energy transition, Topsoe acknowledges it as a shared responsibility to enable transparency and share learnings whenever possible. To those within the industry, Topsoe hopes this inspires, pushes, and heightens the shared results all strive to meet. To those outside of it, the company believes there is a right to understand the intricate technologies, systems, and processes that will soon be in the background of everyday lives.

Impressive stability and efficiency demonstrated 

After three months of consistent testing and monitoring, Topsoe is ready to share the first updates from its SOEC test center in Frederikssund. After 2250 hours of operation, with one core including 12 stacks running at approximately 350 kW total stack power, all 1200 cells have been shown to operate at high levels of stability, under industrial conditions, while maintaining stable temperature levels. While the full industrial use of SOEC technology will necessitate the testing of multiple cores, the results observed from this demo-size plant indicate a level of efficiency that is incredibly promising. Once scaled to meet industrial demand, this positions Topsoe's SOEC technology favorably for its high on-time performance and efficiency.

The consistent performance demonstrated in these test results signifies a significant achievement, highlighting the collaborative efforts of several key teams involved in the SOEC demonstration, as well as the broader contributions of the entire Power-to-X organization at Topsoe. These results mark an important milestone for the technology development team and represent a pivotal step forward in the validation of SOEC technology overall.

A look inside an industrial demonstration plant 

The ultimate purpose of the SOEC demo test is structured to fulfill three key objectives:  

1. Demonstrate complete hydrogen plant

First, the test serves as a demonstration for a complete hydrogen plant, showcasing how Topsoe’s SOEC core functions as an integral part in the broader scope of hydrogen production.  

2. Validate performance of SOEC core

Second, this test serves to validate the performance of Topsoe’s SOEC core – closely monitoring variables such as cell voltage, current, pressure and temperature to understand the core’s overall performance, efficiency, and output.  

3. Test industrially relevant design system 

Finally, the test is conducted with an industrially relevant design system, using components and material selections pertinent to how this technology will be utilized in a fully industrialized setting.

The industrial purpose of this test was a critical starting point for the team in Frederikssund, as this was not merely a stack test but a comprehensive evaluation of a complete SOEC unit designed to operate under industrial conditions. This aspect is crucial because, unlike a regular stack test where variables can be tightly controlled to ensure optimal conditions for the components being tested, a test conducted under industrial conditions does not afford this level of control. Here, the team assesses how each component of the system performs in a setting that closely mirrors the operational realities this technology will face in actual production environments.

The industrial context of the test also extends to the individual components that comprise the SOEC core. Each component of the electrolyzer system, including the boiler feed water (BFW) system and the core’s steam generator, is tested under conditions that are industrially relevant.

Initial findings at 2250 hours of operation 

The below graphs chart the SOEC core across cell voltage, current, pressure and temperature throughout its first 2250 hours of operation. The below results ultimately result in a consistent electrolyzer efficiency of around 93% (compared with LHV of Hydrogen) with an electricity consumption of the core at less than 36 kWh/kg H2 and a ramp up time from 0 – 100% load in 3 minutes.

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