Bloom Energy (NYSE:BE) has managed to successfully test its high-efficiency solid oxide electrolyzers and thus come a step closer to producing low cost green hydrogen at scale. The company started generating hydrogen from its solid oxide electrolyzer installation at NASA’s Ames Research Center, the Moffett Field research facility in Mountain View, Calif.
The electrolyzers of Bloom Energy are the largest and most efficient so far in the world as they produce 20-25% more hydrogen per megawatt (MW) than proton electrolyte membrane (PEM) or alkaline electrolyzers.
Their high efficiency is due to their ability to leverage both electricity and heat unlike low-temperature PEM and alkaline electrolyzers that require electricity to make hydrogen. When integrated with external heat, Bloom Energy’s technology uses less electricity and thus increases efficiency.
The demonstration involves the building, installing and operating a 4 MW Bloom Electrolyzer™ at the NASA’s Ames Research Center which was done in only two months. It can deliver the equivalent of over 2.4 million metric tons per day of hydrogen output. The goal was to demonstrate the speed and ease of deployment of the technology.
The demonstration also shows the maturity, efficiency and commercial readiness of Bloom’s solid oxide technology for large-scale, clean hydrogen production.
“The amount of electricity needed by the electrolyzer to make hydrogen will be the most dominant factor in determining hydrogen production cost. For this reason, the efficiency of the electrolyzer, the electricity needed to produce a kilogram of hydrogen becomes the most critical figure of merit. This 4 MW demonstration at the NASA Ames Research Center proves that the energy efficiency of our large-scale electrolyzer is similar to the small-scale system tested at INL highlighting the strength of our modular architecture,” commented Dr. Ravi Prasher, Chief Technology Officer of Bloom Energy.
He also added that the work from the demonstration stems from the company’s experience and know-how of deploying more than 1 GW of solid oxide fuel cells and providing approximately 1 trillion cumulative cell operating hours.
The platform can convert natural gas and hydrogen to electricity and also can be used reversibly to convert electricity to hydrogen, facilitating low-cost clean hydrogen.