As part of the Schmidt-Kranz Group, a well-established family-owned business with roots dating back to 1885, FEST is actively engaged in H2 water electrolyzers, automation, IT solutions, high-pressure technologies, and H2 refueling stations.
FEST Group brings together decades of experience in automation, information technology, and extensive proficiency in equipment integration to offer comprehensive, fully integrated solutions.
FEST specializes in containerized water electrolyzer systems based on Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) technology, all designed and pre-assembled in our state-of-the-art factory in Goslar, Germany.
In collaboration with their sister companies Maximator and Maximator Hydrogen, FEST provides a complete equipment supply package for the maintenance and service of integrated hydrogen production and distribution plants. These services play a crucial role in establishing a decentralized hydrogen infrastructure, a cornerstone of the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources.
Interview with Christian Perplies, Business Development & Sales Hydrogen Technology & Raymond Schmid, Vice President Sales & Business Development at FEST GmbH.
Easy Engineering: What’s the news about new products?
Christian Perplies & Raymond Schmid: We are excited to introduce our fully integrated containerized electrolyzer system, the “green electrolyzer gEL600,” with a nominal capacity of 3MW. This innovative system includes all the necessary subsystems to produce up to 54kg/h of high-purity hydrogen from tap water, complete with 400V and mid-voltage connections. The successful installation of the first system at INFRAServ, a valued customer in Frankfurt, Germany, marks a significant milestone. Currently, eight more installations are in progress across Europe, with many more planned for the near future.
FEST actively supports project development and configuration, leveraging our expertise in simulation and comprehensive knowledge of ancillary plant components, including compression, storage, hydrogen fueling, and trailer filling. Our experienced team provides professional project management, ensuring the reliable assembly and commissioning of these plants.
E.E: What are the ranges of products?
C.P & R.S: FEST is focusing on standardizing its solutions with three platforms: our gEL400 2MW), our gEL600 (3MW) and our gEL1000 (5MW), currently in final development together with selected customers. With this product portfolio, FEST can deliver complete solutions up to 30MW.
E.E: At what stage is the market where you are currently active?
C.P & R.S: The market for green hydrogen generation plants is in its early commercial development, characterized by the realization of research and pilot projects. We are currently in the phase of upscaling and initiating the standardization of equipment and procedures.
E.E: What can you tell us about market trends?
C.P & R.S: The hydrogen gas market has a well-established presence, having served as a fundamental chemical for decades with global consumption reaching approximately 90 million tons annually. About 10 million tons are employed in the European industrial sector each year, primarily sourced from fossil natural gas by a steam reforming process, resulting in a substantial ninefold increase in CO2 equivalent emissions, approximately 90 million tons for Europe alone.
The fight against climate change is driving society, the economy, and politics to establish a roadmap for the gradual transition to green hydrogen. With the recent approval of the Renewable Energy Directive by the 27 EU member states, including mandatory usage targets for renewable H2 and its derivatives, demand for green hydrogen is set to soar. By 2030, 42% of the hydrogen used by industry must be green, with a target of 60% by 2035, resulting in a remarkable capacity of 4 million tons of green hydrogen annually within just seven years.
Three key pillars are driving the green hydrogen industry: 1. Large-scale electrolysis plants in Europe (centralized H2 infrastructure); 2. Large-scale electrolysis plants in regions with abundant low-cost renewable energy (H2 import to Europe); 3. Small-scale modular hydrogen plants across Europe (decentralized H2 infrastructure). The decentralized production plants are pivotal for bolstering renewable energy capacity throughout the continent. Why? The growth of renewable energy capacities also leads to times when surplus electrical power cannot be sold to the energy market, necessitating alternative business models. Decentralized hydrogen infrastructure provides the answer and opens doors to participating in the market for the required 4 million tons of green hydrogen each year.
In addition, various sectors, including mobility, heating, and steel production, present promising opportunities for the green hydrogen market. Hydrogen mobility applications, especially when integrated with hydrogen production and distribution facilities, offer attractive business prospects.
Nonetheless, there are substantial challenges ahead for green hydrogen, as many aspects of the value chain must be scaled up simultaneously. This places significant demands on resources and requires careful project risk assessments. Besides technical readiness level, this is another reason why currently smaller plants have a higher likelihood of becoming a reality compared to many of the large-scale hydrogen projects that have been announced.
With all these factors in mind, FEST and its products are strategically positioned to serve the market at present.
E.E: What are the most innovative products marketed?
C.P & R.S: FEST, together with its sister companies Maximator hydrogen, is offering one of the most advanced and complete hydrogen solutions on the market from electrolyser up to complete hydrogen refilling stations and trailer filling. One of the latest world first innovation is Maximators vertical piston compressor with automatic seal exchange, allowing to drastically reduce the maintenance time required on it. Completing this unique technology, FEST provides fully integrated electrolyser systems. These have been implemented into some of the most innovative projects for decentralized hydrogen infrastructure. For instance, a 3MW system (our gEL600 system) in Norway is producing hydrogen for ship refueling, and a plant in Vienna is contributing to hydrogen infrastructure for public transport applications, including hydrogen buses. Our next level of innovation is to focus on enhancing standardization. We provide a high-quality, secure, and reliable pre-assembled plant that can be configured to meet specific customer needs and finalized at the client’s site. This endeavor requires expertise in all engineering disciplines, including mechanical, electrical, gas, automation technology, and the capacity to bring projects to fruition. We are continually seeking new team members, and FEST is in the process of constructing a new production site in Goslar, Germany, with plans to relocate by mid-next year.
E.E: What estimations do you have for the rest of 2023?
C.P & R.S: While the early part of 2023 presented challenges due to uncertain hydrogen investment regulations, market uncertainties, and high electricity and equipment prices. The situation has however improved with strong political commitments under which the final approval of the EU Renewable Energy Directive (RED3) or the Hydrogen Bank. As a result, mature projects are emerging, and we anticipate an increase in final investment decisions (FID) in the near future and for 2024 and 2025, resulting in a strong pipeline for FEST.
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