Skip to main content

Renewable hydrogen electrolyzer for mobility and industry

ELYgator, will be one of the largest electrolyzers in the world, to produce hydrogen with renewable electricity. The ELYgator project will play an important role in the energy transition, avoiding more than 3 million tons of CO₂ over the first 10 years of its operation. Given the innovative nature of such a large scale project, the application to the EU Innovation Fund is submitted. Subject to funding and final investment decisions, the project is planned to be operational by 2026.

Discover the ELYgator innovation in more detail.

What is ELYgator:

ELYgator is one of Air Liquide’s flagship renewable hydrogen projects. This project entails a next generation hydrogen production facility, which uses solely intermittent renewable electricity, to be installed in Terneuzen in the Netherlands. ELYgator is unique because of its unprecedented scale, encompassing a capacity of no less than 200 MW electrolyzer, which is 10 times more than the world’s largest electrolyzer in operation today, and because it cleverly integrates two different electrolysis technologies (Proton Exchange Membrane and Alkaline) in a single, cutting-edge design, enabling the needed flexibility in ramping production up and down, that is needed to transform renewable electricity into a wide range of products, including hydrogen, but also oxygen and heat. Because ELYgator is primarily designed as an integrated solution for industry, the oxygen will be delivered to industrial users, while the heat can be used for a heating network. In doing so, renewable electricity is used to maximum efficiency and no energy is lost.

ELYgator – avoiding up to 3,3 million tons of CO2-emissions in the first 10 years of its operation – is an important step towards a carbon neutral society, and was therefore selected as one of the Important Projects of Common European Interest from the Netherlands. In alignment with Air Liquide’s ambitious Climate objectives, this project will also be a great step towards the carbon neutrality path of governments, at local, national and EU levels. The project’s main aim is to demonstrate the integration of a large-scale electrolyzer in an industrial environment by connecting renewable electricity to end-uses in industry and mobility, using Air Liquide’s extensive hydrogen and oxygen pipeline network. The main benefit is to prevent the loss of ‘intermittently’ produced renewable electricity, in this case from wind and solar. This occurs when its available amount is higher than the demand. By converting and using this extra-production capacity (which would otherwise be lost), the project improves the stability of the local electricity grid and enables the further development of renewable power.

Overview of the ELYgator project: large-scale renewable hydrogen electrolysis

Overview of the ELYgator project large-scale renewable hydrogen electrolysis_2

Why is ELYgator hydrogen electrolyzer a breakthrough project?

Converting wind and solar power into hydrogen – using electrolysis – is the best possible solution in preventing ‘abundant’ renewable electricity being lost, and instead being usable for sustainable fuel for trucks and ships, or as feedstock in the industry.

Installations that produce hydrogen by means of electrolysis have existed for quite some time, but are too limited in scale for the future demand for renewable hydrogen and lack flexibility to produce in time with the production of renewable electricity. The ELYgator is especially designed to address this, by scaling up production capacity and efficiency :

  • Large-scale

The installation that will be used in the ELYgator project has a capacity of no less than 200 megawatts of power. This is 10 times as big as the most powerful hydrogen electrolysis installation in operation and is the equivalent of 1 year of energy fueling needs of about 2000 hydrogen trucks. This significant increase in scale, allows balancing of the electric grid and brings a huge increase in the maturity of electrolysis technologies and the electrolysis supply chain in Europe.

Furthermore, ELYgator can be seen as an example for other large-scale electrolysis projects throughout Europe, and an intermediate step to building even bigger hydrogen/electrolysis systems in the near future. This will support the European goal of 6 GW electrolysis capacity installed in 2030.

  • Flexibility

The electricity grid – connecting electricity suppliers and users – must constantly be balanced. This means that the amount of electricity that is added to the grid must correspond exactly to the electricity taken out of the grid at any time.

This is particularly challenging when using renewable energy sources, as the exact amount of electricity that is produced via wind and sun is hard to predict and can vary a lot in a small amount of time. Current hydrogen electrolysis technologies have limited capabilities in correcting this, due to their slower ramping up/down capabilities and smaller scale.

The ELYgator system however is much more powerful and is also able to swiftly respond to fluctuations in the energy supply stream, thanks to the cutting-edge combination of Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) and Alkaline technologies and the efficient full integration into the surrounding industrial complex and the Air Liquide supply system. This means that the ELYgator set up is a perfect companion for wind and solar electricity production in Terneuzen, and throughout Europe.

  • RED II Compliant

The electricity that is converted by ELYgator is compliant with the Renewable Energy Directive (REDII), allowing the produced hydrogen to play a pivotal role in decarbonizing hard-to-abate industrial and mobility sectors (such as heavy trucking and shipping). Both are known as hard-to-abate sectors, as they cannot simply use electricity to lower the greenhouse gas emissions. The ELYgator project will take the initiative to demonstrate for the first time a system that traces the renewable electricity and the produced renewable hydrogen molecules. This allows for certification of renewable hydrogen at the end-users.

  • PEM & Alkaline

ELYgator is the first large-scale project that combines two leading electrolysis technologies: PEM and Alkaline. PEM can respond faster to fluctuations in the supplied energy flow and is smaller in set up, while Alkaline is more economical, mature and has a longer lifespan.

Using both electrolysis techniques in a single integrated system enables balancing of the electricity grid and requires the development of sophisticated steering and operating procedures as the hydrogen quality needs to be consistent. Moreover, the benefits of combining these two electrolysis technologies allow to minimize aging and degradation of stack, while optimizing response times, plot space, cost-effectiveness and efficiency (energy use, maintenance, reliability). Air Liquide has over 40 years of experience in the producing and handling of hydrogen, so it has all needed expertise in house to accomplish this challenging project.

A Hydrogen flagship in the center of Europe

The ELYgator production facility will be installed in Terneuzen, The Netherlands. Terneuzen is situated in the North Sea Port area, covering Zeeland (The Netherlands) and part of East-Flanders (Belgium). This area is already one of the largest hydrogen clusters in Europe, attracting new industrial businesses and bringing great employment opportunities.

Furthermore, ELYgator allows the existing industry in the area to become more sustainable by replacing conventional hydrogen by renewable hydrogen, therefore reinforcing the sustainable future of the region and its industrial basins in the Netherlands. Plus, as the Netherlands is a very densely populated country, the hydrogen that ELYgator supplies for mobility will enable a cleaner future for this sector and improve the air quality in the region.

ELYgator not only aims to be a flagship of this region, but also to be an inspiring, replicable and scalable model for other hydrogen production sites across Europe.

ELYgator, an innovative solution to boost the energy transition

The Paris Climate Agreement aims to keep global temperature increases well under 2° C. In order to achieve this, greenhouse gases emissions need to be lowered quite extensively. Air Liquide embraces the emission reduction targets as set by the Paris Climate Agreement, by targeting a 33% reduction of its carbon emissions by 2035 vs 2020 and carbon neutrality by 2050.

The ELYgator project is one of the cornerstones of Air Liquide's carbon emission reduction strategy, also enabling its customers to do the same. On top of that the project will also serve as a leading example for similar future CO2 abatement projects, both in replicability and scalability.

Energy transition requires tackling complex projects and joining forces of both public and private sectors to make these projects a reality. As such, Air Liquide strongly believes that partnerships are pivotal in large-scale carbon-reduction projects. Our capabilities to run such large-scale carbon-reduction projects, combined with our - almost half a century - unique heritage and expertise in the mastery of essential small molecules, can lead the way for an energy and industry transition and towards a sustainable future. We want to continue kickstarting and participating in new carbon-reduction business ecosystems, such as Kairos@C, Porthos, HyTrucks and RH2ine consortiums, the Aurora project, HyBalance

ELYgator allows max conversion of wind & solar power

While wind turbines and solar panels obviously are valuable sources for renewable electricity, the production is dependent on the availability of the natural resources of wind and sun, which can lead to under - or over - supply of renewable electricity. Considering large and long-time storage is costly and not-energy efficient, when the amount of electricity provided by wind turbines and solar panels is higher than the demand, the ‘excess’ electricity will be lost. This often happens for example during windy periods in the night or on sunny days during the weekends or holidays. ELYgator provides a perfect solution to avoid these losses by converting it into valuable renewable products such as hydrogen, oxygen and heat. These can be distributed through Air Liquide's extensive network and customer base. In doing so, the renewable electricity is used to maximum efficiency and no energy is lost.

How ELYgator electrolyzer maximizes renewable electricity efficiency

How ELYgator electrolyzer maximizes renewable electricity efficiency

Any questions ? Please contact the Air Liquide team here.

Public final report of feasibility studies

Air Liquide has performed a feasibility study for the ELYgator project, considering both technical and economical feasibility questions related to the demonstration of large-scale electrolysis in the Netherlands. A public report of the results of this study have been published and a download of the report is available here. This feasibility study was supported by the Top sector Energysubsidy (NL: Topsector Energiesubsidie) from the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy.