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The Fronius Solhub is a complete turnkey solution for decentralised hydrogen production, storage and supply

Fronius has been researching and developing hydrogen solutions for around 20 years and, in this time, has become the innovation leader in the production of green hydrogen. The company has big plans to further build on this enormous wealth of experience. The ground-breaking ceremony for the Fronius Hydrogen Competence Center took place at the company’s Steinhaus site in Upper Austria back in 2020. In the future, Fronius will be able to pool its resources here and drive forward the development of renewable mobility and energy solutions using green hydrogen.                                                                                                     

“24 hours of sun is possible because we are able to make renewable energy available around the clock,” asserts Martin Hackl, Global Director Sales & Marketing, Solar Energy, Fronius International “The technology to turn our vision into reality is already there, the generation of hydrogen through electrolysis being one example. Used in combination with a fuel cell, hydrogen has the potential to completely revolutionise the entire supply of energy.” Hydrogen is versatile and is very easy to store. It can be used as a fuel in vehicles or to supply energy to generate heat and electricity. Nevertheless, hydrogen can only be said to be renewable if it is generated using solar or wind power to produce ’green hydrogen’.

Research and development location

“The Hydrogen Competence Center in Steinhaus is the ideal way to combine our resources and drive forward hydrogen research, development, production and sales in H2 systems,” says Walter Stockinger, Global Director Research & Development, Solar Energy, Fronius International. “Training and customer presentations will also be conducted under one roof in the future.” The high-tech company is further expanding its know-how through numerous collaborations, innovative pilot projects and its participation in expert panels focused on hydrogen power. This modern development location will therefore serve as an innovation hub and provide the ideal trial and test environment for the latest H2 applications.

Hydrogen will above all play a central role in the decarbonisation of transport – its benefits are most clearly seen where large ranges, heavy loads and short refuelling times are among the considerations. The zero-emission, low-noise and powerful hydrogen drive has great potential when replacing conventional combustion engines in diverse vehicle types, such as buses, HGVs, special vehicles and forklift trucks. Fronius has already developed a solution that is scalable depending on the customer’s requirements: the Fronius Solhub. The facility at Steinhaus will have its very own Solhub, including reconversion and storage systems, and hydrogen vehicles are now being added to the existing vehicle fleet.

Powering vehicles with green hydrogen from solar energy

The Fronius Solhub, which was recently singled out for ’The Smarter E Award 2020’ in the ’Smart Renewable Energy’ category,[1] is a complete turnkey solution for decentralised hydrogen production, storage and supply. It uses electrolysis to convert environmentally friendly energy generated on-site into green hydrogen, which can be stored over the long term. Not only that, a further positive side-effect of the electrolysis and reconversion process is that the waste heat can be used to heat buildings or generate hot water, maximising the overall efficiency of the system.

An increasing number of vehicle manufacturers are already offering models or prototypes with fuel cells. Examples include buses, HGVs, internal logistics vehicles and even piste machines. The next stage is to install the necessary refuelling infrastructure. The Solhub allows companies, municipalities and other organisations to produce their own fuel in the form of green hydrogen at the precise location where it is needed. It is often the case that large roof areas are available for the installation of photovoltaic systems and, once they are in place, the generation of clean, green hydrogen can start!

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About Fronius Solar Energy

 The Fronius Business Unit (BU) Solar Energy has been developing photovoltaic energy solutions and distributing its products through a global network of expert installation, service and sales partners since 1992. More than 24 Solar Energy subsidiaries, an export ratio of over 93 percent and a total output of more than 21 Gigawatts from installed inverters are testament to this. Its mission is to achieve 24 hours of sun. Day after day Fronius is hard at work turning this vision of a future in which 100% of the world’s energy needs are covered by renewable sources into a reality. With this in mind, Fronius develops energy solutions to generate, store, distribute and consume solar energy economically and intelligently.

[1] Other awards: VCÖ Mobility Award Upper Austria (2020), Energy Star Award of the State of Upper Austria in the “Innovation” category (2019), National Environmental and Energy Technology Award (2018)

Fronius UK

Fronius UK, a subsidiary of Fronius International, provides the UK welding market with solutions for MIG/MAG, TIG, electrode, laser, plasma and resistance spot welding and automation. Its new state-of-the-art facility in Milton Keynes extends over 30,000m2 and houses the Tech Support team, the Repair Center, a warehouse and a training area and epitomises the importance of being able to deliver a first-class service to customers.

Fronius UK, a subsidiary of Fronius International, provides the UK welding market with solutions for MIG/MAG, TIG, electrode, laser, plasma and resistance spot welding and automation. Its new state-of-the-art facility in Milton Keynes extends over 30,000m2 and houses the Tech Support team, the Repair Center, a warehouse and a training area and epitomises the importance of being able to deliver a first-class service to customers.

Sales and service teams, both at head office and regionally, ensure that customers are supported as quickly as possible on their own premises. In addition, customers benefit from services such as calibration, a warranty extension and a maintenance contract.

For decades, Fronius has made significant contributions to advances in welding technology. The company is still in family ownership and its welding technology division is now one of the world’s technology leaders in the arc welding market segment. It is also the market leader in Europe.

Welding Technology is one of three Fronius divisions. Since the 1940s, Fronius has been creating technologies and solutions for monitoring and controlling energy in battery-charging systems, and since 1992 the same in solar electronics. The mains-connected inverter, the unique Fronius Service Partner programme and products for monitoring photovoltaic systems make Fronius one of the leading suppliers in the field of solar electronics.

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