Less than a year after acquiring majority ownership of H-TEC Systems (H-TEC), MAN Energy Solutions has unveiled a multi-year plan to invest more than US$550 million in its subsidiary company. Specializing in hydrogen development and research, H-TEC produces electrolysis stacks and electrolyzers based on the polymer-electrolyte membrane (PEM) process for green hydrogen production. Headquartered in Germany, the company offers integrated container solutions in the megawatt range.
MAN Energy Solutions acquired the majority of shares of Augsburg, Germany-based H-TEC in June 2021. With the acquisition, MAN Energy Solutions completed its range across the hydrogen value chain. “Starting with extraction and transport, right through to the use of climate-neutral energy, we offer our customers solutions for using green hydrogen, and are therefore strongly positioned in one of the most important future markets,” said Uwe Lauber, CEO of MAN Energy Solutions at the closing of the acquisition. At that time, Lauber announced MAN Energy Solutions’ desire to drive forward the large-scale industrial scaling of electrolysis. “Today, H-TEC Systems offers electrolyzers in the megawatt range,” he said. “The objective now is to prepare the company for serial production because green hydrogen is going to become a mass market.”
Fast forward seven months and Lauber is backing those words with action.
“Over the next five to 10 years, green hydrogen will become one of the most important primary energy sources for the global economy as it continues to decarbonize,” said Lauber. “With PEM electrolysis, H-TEC Systems has mastered one of the most important processes for industrially scaled hydrogen production from renewable energy sources. The technology is mature and has already been placed on the market successfully. The next step is therefore to scale and set up highly automated serial production — and we would like to make rapid progress with this.”
Expediting the progress, as part of MAN Energy Solutions, H-TEC has access to a global sales network and the experience that MAN Energy Solutions has in major projects. In addition, it can tap the expertise and experience of the MAN Energy Solutions owner, Volkswagen Group, especially in matters relating to production scaling and the supplier-based series production business.
Chair of the Supervisory Board of MAN Energy Solutions and Member of the Board of Volkswagen AG, Gunnar Kilian, underscored Volkswagen Group’s support for H-TEC’s growth plans. “On the path toward achieving climate neutrality, hydrogen plays a key role for sectors such as international shipping or industrial processes in which direct electrification is not possible. It is therefore essential for our subsidiary MAN Energy Solutions to continue to strengthen its strategic position in the future market for power-to-X technology and synthetic fuels with investment in hydrogen production. Only by coordinating our efforts will we achieve our shared objective of climate neutrality. MAN Energy Solutions is playing an important role in this regard.”
As part of its growth strategy, H-TEC is restructuring its management team. Robin von Plettenberg, previously head of the turbomachinery service business at MAN Energy Solutions, became H-TEC’s chief executive officer as well as chief sales officer. Frank Zimmermann will take on the role of chief financial officer. Marius Zasche, previously head of the components business at MAN Energy Solutions, completes H-TEC’s executive board team as chief technology and operations officer.
“The market for hydrogen production from renewable energy sources is currently focused on decentralized production and local use,” said von Plettenberg. “Over the next few years, we will see increasingly larger projects, such as those for integrating entire wind farms. We are increasingly expecting projects on a scale of more than 100 megawatts and, in the medium term, are also predicting structural changes in the market for multi-gigawatt large-scale plants, which are used in particular to export hydrogen and supply industrial sectors worldwide.”
As part of its investment pledge, MAN Energy Solutions plans to increase the staff of the H-TEC, both in Augsburg and in the Braak municipality in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany.
“Over the past few years, we have already greatly expanded our workforce and doubled the number of employees in 2021 alone,” said Zimmermann. “This growth will continue, and we are planning to hire several hundred highly qualified members of staff over the next few years, especially in development and production.”