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Bloom Energy deploys solid-oxide electrolyzer technology in South Korea

| By Mary Bailey

Bloom Energy (San Jose, Calif.) announced the first international deployment of its high temperature solid-oxide electrolyzer. The successful 130 kilowatt (kW) installation in Gumi, South Korea, further propels Bloom Energy’s efforts to enable a hydrogen-fueled economy following the commercial launch of the Bloom Electrolyzer in 2021.

Bloom’s high-temperature electrolyzer is operating at its designed high efficiency, producing hydrogen onsite more efficiently than low-temperature PEM and alkaline electrolyzers. Because it operates at high temperatures, the Bloom Electrolyzer requires less energy to split water molecules and produce hydrogen. As electricity accounts for up to 80 percent of the cost of hydrogen from electrolysis, using less electricity increases the economics of hydrogen production and helps bolster adoption.

Fully operational at the Bloom SK Fuel Cell center in South Korea since January 2022, this new demonstration is testing electrolysis efficiency using water as an input in intermittency mode. The Bloom Electrolyzer is effectively and efficiently operating in daily cycles, demonstrating its ability to pair with intermittent renewables, such as solar and wind.

In production, the Bloom Electrolyzer is expected to operate at 46 kilowatt hours (kW-hr) per kilogram of hydrogen (kg H2) output with water as its input. When steam is used, the electrolyzer requires even less electricity, expected to operate at 40.4 kW-hr/kg H2, driving further efficiencies.

“The successful deployment of our electrolyzer internationally is a testament to the confidence it has garnered to create viable pathways to achieving a net-zero, hydrogen-fueled future,” said Deia Bayoumi, vice president, global product management, Bloom Energy. “This marks a critical step in our mission to transform the global energy landscape and enable the hydrogen economy.”

The project aligns with South Korea’s efforts to decarbonize its energy system and become a global leader in the hydrogen economy in the coming decades. Investing heavily in new technologies and infrastructure to spur the production and adoption of the carbon-neutral fuel, South Korea aims to replace fossil fuels with hydrogen as its chief power source by 2050, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy. With the capacity to scale hydrogen production rapidly, Bloom Energy and SK ecoplant are well-suited to drive South Korea’s energy transition forward.

“A significant milestone in our successful partnership with Bloom Energy, this latest collaboration is a testament to our shared vision to transform South Korea’s energy landscape and unlock new value through innovation,” said Seoung-hwan Oh, vice president, hydrogen business, SK ecoplant. “Bloom Energy’s technology has demonstrated unparalleled performance and efficiency, further establishing us at the forefront of South Korea’s clean energy market.”

Highly flexible, the Bloom Electrolyzer offers unique advantages for deployment across a broad variety of hydrogen applications, using multiple energy sources including intermittent renewable energy and excess heat. Its modular design also makes it ideal for applications across gas, utilities, nuclear, wind, solar, ammonia and heavy industries.