Carrying On in Times of Corona

How an international green energy company is pushing ahead with expansion into Germany and starting production of hydrogen electrolyzers

 February, 2021

Despite the climate of uncertainty that still hangs around coronavirus, it’s worth noting that the investment plans of some companies, like the Italian-Thai electrolyzer manufacturer Enapter, have still gone ahead more or less on schedule. Enapter works in green hydrogen technology, which is considered one of the best bets for solving the world’s environmental emergencies, with potential applications in the transport, steel and chemical sectors.

© Paul Langrock/laif

In June 2020, Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Peter Altmaier announced a EUR 9 billion government program to develop hydrogen technologies. Germany, he said, aimed to become “the number one in the world” in the area.

That governmental commitment was one more incentive for Enapter to expand to Germany despite ongoing concerns and restrictions around the pandemic. The company, which has clients in 33 countries, is set to open a new plant for manufacturing its Anion Exchange Membrane (AEM) electrolyzers in the western German town of Saerbeck in 2021.

»The coronavirus did slow us down a little bit, particularly at the beginning of the year, but we never had to close down production.«

Thomas Chrometzka, head of strategy, Enapter

The EUR 100 million project will mass-produce Enapter’s groundbreaking “plug and play” electrolyzers, which produce hydrogen that can be integrated into any energy system. By lowering the manufacturing overheads, the firm hopes to make their electrolyzers more affordable and contribute to Germany’s transition to renewable energy.

Germany Trade & Invest provided Enapter with support in finding a location to build the factory. Although the process was slowed down a bit by the coronavirus, according to Enapter’s head of strategy Thomas Chrometzka, Enapter remained focused on its long-term objective. It was important that the construction plans went ahead and the production schedule remained on track even as the virus spread throughout Europe.

“We were even able to increase production in some countries,” Chrometzka said. “We were nimble enough to react to the changes and able to work with them.”