Hydrohub MegaWatt Test Center

The work in this project covers the design, realisation and commercial exploration of the Hydrohub MegaWatt Test Center. 

In short:

  • Together with financial support from Topsector Energy, ISPT responded on the call from the industry to facilitate testing of large-scale electrolysers in an industrial relevant condition 
  • The MegaWatt Test Center is developed as a validation platform to perform such tests with water electrolysis at MegaWatt scale 
  • In addition, its open innovation lab structure is unique since tests at manufacturer’s site usually don’t offer such transparency 
  • Business opportunities for extension of the MegaWatt Test Center activities with the manufacturing industry, end-users and suppliers will be developed 

Large scale green hydrogen production through water electrolysis is one of the most important solutions in the energy transition. The MegaWatt Test Center is a steppingstone towards the future gigawatt scale production of sustainable hydrogen by the process industry. With the MegaWatt Test Center, HyCC, Shell, Nobian, Yara, Yokogawa, Hanze University of Applied Sciences, TNO, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, Groningen Seaports, TKI Energie &Industrie, and ISPT work together to bring this testing facility at the energy testing ground of ENTRANCE alive.  

Open Innovation Lab

The main purpose of developing the Hydrohub MegaWatt Test Centre is to have an open innovation lab for both Alkaline Water Electrolysis (AWE) and Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) WaterElectrolysis units, the two main technologies for water electrolysis. Since manufacturers of electrolysers usually do not offer this transparency, this is a unique feature. 

All experiment outcomes will be used to answer the main question: how to best design a gigawatt electrolyser within the boundaries of efficiency (80%), stability, power density, operation pressure (30/50 BarA) and price level per kW.  Moreover, business opportunities will be created with the manufacturing industry and suppliers to utilize the HHMWTC.  

This means, the Hydrohub MegaWatt Test Centre project can enable the roll-out of the PEM and AWE technologies in The Netherlands, thereby making a meaningful contribution to the achievement climate goals. 

The MegaWatt Test Center at ENTRANCE, Groningen

PHASE 1 – Design, manufacturing, delivery and construction 

Phase 1 initiated in 2018, with a primary emphasis on designing, implementing, and planning for the operation and maintenance aspects. Central are the project development, manufacturing, delivery and construction, of both the PEM and AWE units.  

Phase 1 is completed as of July 2023 with the physical establishment of the test center at the energy testing ground of ENTRANCE in Groningen in the Netherlands and to proceed with the project plan for phase 2 – the research phase. 

Advanced process control

Early 2021 TKI Energy & Industry granted the project with a first add-onto the original project. The addition involves advanced process control and will be executed in parallel to the current Hydrohub MegaWatt Test Center. The consortium is happy to announce a new partner in advanced process control: Yokogawa, manufacturer of equipment for the process industry.  

It is expected that by applying advanced control strategies 2 to 3 % operational efficiency gain can be achieved. The research proposed in this project is aimed to research, model, and test this potential efficiency gain on the PEM unit. 

PHASE 2 – Research Phase 

Having successfully concluded phase 1 and having the installation prepared for operational use, phase 2 of the project is now underway. This stage encompasses commissioning and start-up of the Alkaline and PEM electrolysers, and to initiate various research activities. The primary objective of phase 2 is to gather essential data, results, and insights necessary for optimising PEM and AWE technologies. Also, more in-depth knowledge will be gained on the safe operation and maintenance of electrolysers.  

Lastly during this phase, business opportunities for extension of the Hydrohub MegaWatt Test Centre activities with the manufacturing industry, end-users and suppliers will be developed. 

Hydrohub Innovation Program

The MegaWatt Test Center is a part of our Hydrohub Innovation Program and therefore aligned to other hydrogen initiatives by the process industry and academics.

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Acknowledgement & partners

Dit project is medegefinancierd door TKI-Energie uit de Toeslag voor Topconsortia voor Kennis en Innovatie (TKI’s) van het ministerie van Economische Zaken en Klimaat