Dresden-based renewable energy startup Sunfire – a developer of green hydrogen, off-grid, and mobile energy solutions for commercial purposes – has received a €25 million investment led by the Luxembourg-based steel plant builder Paul Wurth. Existing Sunfire investors INVEN Capital, Idinvest Partners, Total Energy Ventures, and the “Sunfire Entrepreneurs Club” also participated in the new financing round.
Founded in 2010, Sunfire develops and manufactures highly efficient electrolysers and fuel cells, using green hydrogen through the industrialisation of electrolysis and Power-to-Liquid technology for large-scale commercial projects. As an investor and partner, Paul Wurth will provide access to global metals industry, which is increasingly using renewable hydrogen.
With the new capital, Sunfire plans to begin implementing commercial multi-megawatt projects applying high-temperature electrolysis and Power-to-Liquid technology in 2019.
For Paul Wurth, the partnership represents a significant step towards new technological developments for green steelmaking, as well as an opportunity to enter the growing e-fuels market.
The technologies developed by Sunfire allow the production of climate-neutral fuels and gases for certain industrial sectors that now rely on fossil energy sources, such as heavy load transportation, aviation, the steel industry, and the chemical industry. Green hydrogen is produced based on the production of green electricity through an efficient high-temperature electrolyser, using waste heat generated by industrial processes.
In Sunfire’s latest product, high-temperature electrolysis can not only reactivate water, but also CO2, thus transforming combustion by-products into clean feedstock, replacing fossil oil or natural gas. The produced hydrogen can be used directly or can be further processed into e-gasoline, e-diesel and especially e-kerosene for aviation. Sunfire’s current project is building the first high-temperature electrolyser at megawatt scale.
Carl Berninghausen, CEO of Sunfire, said: “Thanks to our so far largest financing round we pave the way for the industrialisation of our technology validated in pilot plants. We experience daily how the interest for our solutions for energy transition is growing.”
“We have already set a signal in the steel sector,” added Berninghausen. “With Paul Wurth joining the venture, we become a valuable partner for energy intensive industries. This milestone is an important step for us towards becoming industrial company, and we will now be able to expand our pure product-oriented business into project-based service activities.”
Georges Rassel, CEO of Paul Wurth, said: “Our collaboration with Sunfire clearly expresses our strategy to play a leading role in the upcoming transformation of the steel industry towards CO2-free steel production. Paul Wurth designs and supplies complete blast furnace plants, coke oven plants as well as by-product treatment facilities for the primary stage of integrated steelmaking. We would like to accompany our customers also in their journey to hydrogen-based hot metal production and support them to achieve climate protection targets.”