The Importance Of Power Conversion Technologies In The Production Of Green Hydrogen

Power conversion systems are crucial in any hydrogen electrolysis plant, including water electrolysis, which requires high and stable levels of DC electrical current.


Global demand for green hydrogen is high and rising fast. Some studies predict that the electrical power demand to produce green hydrogen will be 4500 GW by 2050, compared to today’s (2023) electrical power demand of around 25 GW. This exponential growth will be fueled by green hydrogen which will reduce the carbon footprint of existing industries that use hydrogen as a feedstock, and by the development of novel methods for storing and transporting energy.

Most hydrogen production today is heavily dependent on fossil fuels and is, consequently, a significant contributor to carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. There are growing environmental, political, and economic pressures to make hydrogen production carbon neutral. Water electrolysis will hence play a significant role in hydrogen production in the future. It will also impact how energy systems are set up. Currently responsible for only around 2% of the global hydrogen production, water electrolysis generates green hydrogen by harnessing renewable sources of energy, such as wind and solar power, as inputs in the process.

Water electrolysis requires high and stable levels of DC electrical current and, therefore, power conversion systems are crucial in any hydrogen electrolysis plant. A green electrolysis plant must be capable of using electricity from wind farms or solar arrays, either directly or via the power grid. It must also be able to convert the input from these sources into stable electrical power outputs with the characteristics required to generate hydrogen economically.

This paper examines the factors driving growth in the hydrogen market, briefly, before focusing on the Power Conversion System (PCS) required for electrolysis. Some typical electrolysis plant layouts are introduced, along with the topologies for both AC-DC and DC-DC power conversion. As a global leader in power semiconductors, Infineon’s comprehensive portfolio offers a wide range of choices to designers of PCS. The paper will conclude with an overview of Infineon’s products and capabilities.

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