26 Mar 2019, 13:20
Julian Wettengel

VW subsidiary MAN Energy Solutions buys stake in electrolysis expert in expectation of future commercial market

Handelsblatt / Clean Energy Wire

Engine manufacturer and Volkswagen (VW) subsidiary MAN Energy Solutions shows a firm commitment to sustainable hydrogen propulsion by buying a 40 percent stake in the electrolysis technology company H-TEC SYSTEMS, reports Axel Höpner in Handelsblatt. “This is a signal that we take getting into the topic hydrogen seriously,” MAN Energy Solutions CEO Uwe Lauber told Handelsblatt. The acquisition will allow the company to build its own electrolysers in a “commercial market which will develop within the coming three to five years”, he added. The parties have agreed not to disclose the price of the acquisition, they write in a press release. The contract also makes provisions for a majority or complete takeover of H-TEC SYSTEMS at a later date.

Using renewable electricity to produce hydrogen and CO₂-neutral methane could solve some of the Energiewende’s toughest challenges. Making gas with wind and solar power through electrolysis and methanation (power-to-gas) could provide carbon-neutral fuel for heating and transport, and pave the way for large-scale seasonal energy storage. But so far, power-to-gas is only used in some 30 research and pilot facilities around Germany. Many experts believe the government must now scale up the technology to make it available – and affordable – in time to meet climate targets. “The production of hydrogen constitutes an important interface in the coupling of the energy, transportation and heating sectors,” said MAN’s Lauber.

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