Sunfire is using renewable electricity to store energy in liquid or gas forms for applications in the industrial and transportation sector, offering alternatives for sectors that have been notoriously difficult to decarbonise.

Sunfire is producing carbon-neutral synthetic fuels to allow decarbonisation of challenging sectors including transportation and industry. The company uses renewable electricity as a starting point for electrolysis to make hydrogen gas from water. From there, hydrogen fuel can either be directly applied as an energy source or chemically manipulated to make fuels that offer alternatives to fossil fuels. These are known as synthetic fuels or e-fuels. These fuels can be used to replace fossil fuels with applications in the steel, pharmaceutical, and transportation industries.

The combination of renewable energy and hydrogen also provides an option for energy storage, helping to further integrate renewables into the grid. While the cost of renewable energy production continues to drop and become more accessible, energy storage solutions are needed at a larger scale to increase the utility and scale of clean energy. Sunfire’s model allows for existing infrastructure to be used keeping costs low. Excess heat from the industrial process that is normally released and lost, is re-used in the process, increasing efficiency.

Sunfire is beginning to scale up, with demonstration projects in Germany and Norway. The commercial plant being built in Norway will produce 10 million litres of oil substitute, supplying 20 megawatts of input power. The demonstration project in Dresden, Germany, in partnership with Climeworks, was for research and development purposes. The team was looking for an efficient way to incorporate direct air capture of CO2, further increasing the sustainability of their operations. 

Why you should care

Sunfire’s solution could be a gamechanger for industries that have been very difficult to decarbonise thus far. If the aviation industry was a country, it would rank in the top ten emitting countries, and having a synthetic green fuel that could be used on the go would greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and contributions to climate change. A recent study demonstrated that this renewable hydrogen is already cost competitive, and could replace industrial alternatives within a decade.

How the Global Goals are addressed

Affordable and Clean Energy

An overall energy storage capacity of 80 GW must be added for the global community to meet the 2030 SDG targets. Sunfire’s solution will help the market move towards more renewables in the energy mix by making energy storage more cost effective and efficient.