Cummins to begin U.S. electrolyzer production

Cummins Inc. has announced plans to start producing electrolyzers in the United States in what the company described as a “milestone” in its efforts to ramp up its hydrogen production business in the coming years amid a global push to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

The Columbus-based company said Monday that it plans to dedicate 89,000-square-feet of an existing Cummins facility in Fridley, Minnesota, a Twin City suburb, for electrolyzer production.

Cummins initially expects to have an annual manufacturing capacity of 500 megawatts at the Minnesota facility that could be scalable to as much as 1 gigawatt in the future. The company did not specify when production is expected to start.

Electrolyzers are devices that use electricity to split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen can then be used to generate power for industrial, chemical and other applications, according to Cummins’ website.

In 2020, Cummins projected that its electrolyzer business will have about $400 million in annual revenues by 2025. By comparison, Cummins reported total full-year revenues of $24 billion last year.

“Expanding Cummins’ electrolyzer manufacturing footprint to the United States is a milestone not only for our company but an important step in advancing global decarbonization efforts,” said Alexey Ustinov, vice president of electrolyzers at Cummins, in a statement. “This is a reflection of increasing government support through the Inflation Reduction Act, Hydrogen Hubs and a blossoming hydrogen economy in the states. Cummins’ ability to leverage our manufacturing, engineering and sourcing knowledge to build capacity will help us meet increased customer demand and continue to accelerate the clean energy transition.”

The announcement on Monday came less than a week after Atura Power, a Canadian energy company, announced that it had selected Cummins to design a manufacture a 20-megawatt electrolyzer system in generate green hydrogen at the Niagara Hydrogen Centre in Niagara Falls, Ontario.

Atura Power is a subsidiary of Ontario Power Generation, a Toronto-based energy company that is wholly owned by the provincial government of Ontario.

This carbon-free green hydrogen will then be provided to industrial customers for immediate consumption and will be transported and blended into the fuel stream at Atura Power’s Halton Hills Generating Station near Toronto, creating cleaner electricity for Ontario, the two companies said in a statement.

Detailed design work and system integration is underway, with plans to bring the Niagara Hydrogen Centre online in early 2024, according to the statement.

Cummins has said in the past that it expects green hydrogen to play an important role in cutting emissions in some of the industries that are most dependent on fossil fuels and now face strict climate targets in many countries.

The company recently announced that it would expand its electrolyzer manufacturing capacity at its Belgium factory and has added space to its Mississauga, Canada, site. Cummins also is building two new electrolyzer factories in Spain and China.

“Expanding our electrolyzer capabilities to Minnesota is Cummins’ first step in enhancing our ability to serve North American customers and meet growing demand for large-scale electrolysis projects globally,” said Alex Savelli, Cummins managing director of electrolyzers – Americas, in a statement on Monday. “The company continues to evaluate new opportunities to grow in North America that will enable us to extend our electrolyzer product range and manufacture next-generation technologies for larger, more demanding applications.”