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New Siemens units lay marks in hydrogen generation, mobility and energy-as-a-service

With a flurry of recent announcements, the newly-launched power division of the electronics giant plans to drive hydrogen mobility in Germany and enter the commercial and industrial power market in the US.

It has been little more than a week since the Siemens Energy electricity business was spun out of its giant parent and the German tech conglomerate has already made three announcements regarding new hydrogen and distributed energy projects. 

Siemens Energy and fellow subsidiary Siemens Mobility have revealed they will collaborate to develop hydrogen infrastructure for trains, with the mobility unit drawing on its work of developing trains.

“The decarbonization of energy systems is a central goal of Siemens Energy,” said Armin Schnettler, executive VP for new energy business at the unit. “So-called sector coupling plays a key role here – interconnecting previously separate energy-relevant sectors such as electricity and heat generation or mobility. This can be achieved – completely CO2-free – with the electrolysis of water using electricity produced from renewable energy sources. Working together with Siemens Mobility, we want to drive sector coupling by developing, among other things, an electrolysis and fueling solution for the fast fueling of hydrogen-powered trains.”

EU ambition

Most trains already run on electricity from overhead wires but the vast stretches of the European rail network which transport diesel-electric trains will need replacing if the continent is to achieve the EU’s decarbonization goals.

“Our cooperation with Siemens Energy paves the way for sustainable and climate-friendly mobility,” said Albrecht Neumann, CEO of rolling stock at Siemens Mobility. “This way, we can support our customers in replacing their diesel-powered trains operating on non-electrified rail lines, with emission-free, hydrogen-powered trains over the longer term. Together with Siemens Energy, we can even offer hydrogen as a ‘hydrogen-as-a-service’ model for a train’s service life.”

The partners intend to develop standardized fueling infrastructure for Siemens Mobility trains, with a pilot program and roll-out to unnamed customers planned. Under the partnership agreement, Siemens Energy will develop green hydrogen generation and distribution systems and Siemens Mobility will focus on train equipment, maintenance and depot infrastructure. 

“Working together, Siemens Energy and Siemens Mobility can offer rail customers a complete solution. This will not only support customer acceptance of hydrogen power in the transport market but also promote the establishment of a sustainable hydrogen economy in Germany,” the joint announcement touted. 

Another of the German parent’s subsidiaries, Siemens Smart Infrastructure, has signed a memorandum of understanding with Bavarian municipality-owned utility SWW Wunsiedel GmbH to develop a 6 MW hydrogen production facility. The Silyzer 300 proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolyzer to be supplied by Siemens Energy is expected to produce 900 tons of hydrogen per year, rising to 2,000 tons at a later date. Groundbreaking is set for this year with commercial operation anticipated by the end of next year.

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The electrolyzer is set to ease local grid congestion caused by numerous Bavarian PV arrays and wind farms, by absorbing excess electricity generation from the renewables plants and SWW Wunsiedel plans to export heat generated by the electrolysis process to nearby industries. The hydrogen produced at the facility will be compressed and trucked to customers in Germany and Czechia.

“For the first time, the oxygen and the low-temperature waste heat generated during production are planned to be reused by nearby industrial operations,” said utility CEO Marco Krasser. “This will result in maximum energy efficiency and a plant that is unique because all element flows will be utilized. In addition, electrolysis is an important building block toward implementing the ‘WUNsiedeler Weg – energy’, where we make sustainable energy use and climate protection a reality.”

Distributed generation

Another announcement was made by Siemens Smart Infrastructure, which will join forces with peer Siemens Financial Services and Macquarie’s Green Investment Group (GIG) to form the Calibrant Energy, U.S.-based energy-as-a-service joint venture (JV). The new business will target commercial and industrial clients as well as municipalities, universities, schools and hospitals. 

“Many companies and institutions are embarking on a green transition in their energy strategies to take advantage of lower cost, lower emissions and increased resilience,” said Chris Archer, head of Americas for GIG. “Due to our shared vision and complementary expertise, GIG viewed Siemens as the ideal partner in forming Calibrant Energy to work closely with clients to deliver simple, customized, fully managed energy solutions. With industry-leading technology, deep sector expertise and flexible financing capabilities, Calibrant is well positioned to be a transformative leader in distributed energy and accelerate the transition toward a greener economy.”

Offering

Calibrant will offer solar, solar-plus-storage, batteries and microgrids as well as combined heat and power and heating and cooling products. The JV will include Siemens technology in a product suite drawn from “across the industry” and will be able to plan, design, construct, own and operate energy systems for customers as well as covering up-front capital costs – to provide the “as-a-service” part of the equation.

Anthony Casciano, chief executive of Siemens Financial Services (SFS), said: “As an experienced investor in energy and infrastructure initiatives throughout the United States, SFS has been a pioneer in providing flexible financing solutions for the advancement of distributed energy projects. Combining Siemens’ innovative technology solutions and – together with GIG – adding our own financing and risk management expertise, Calibrant Energy will help enable customers to obtain resilient low-cost energy and meet sustainability goals with no up-front cost.”

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Source: pv magazine