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From established industry to Green Hydrogen Innovation – ANDRITZ’s remarkable venture journey | Part 2

By April 2, 2024May 29th, 2024No Comments

Corporate Entrepreneurship Stories #1: ANDRITZ – Part 2

Part 2 – The teams rapid growth path to become a European leader in green hydrogen production

This is the second part of our discussion with Peter Eisenköck, VP of Global Sales and Service for Green Hydrogen at ANDRITZ. In the first part of the corporate entrepreneurship story, we explored the early days of Peter’s venture journey into green hydrogen. In part 2, we will find out more about the teams’ remarkable growth path, a technological partnership and the lighthouse project with Salzgitter AG that will soon become one of Europe’s largest green hydrogen production facilities. 

Peter, as we were discussing initially, your venture has experienced a remarkable growth path. Not only in terms of business, but also with your team. Where do you stand today?

Yes, I think one can say that, it’s been an incredible journey where we have seen very rapid growth over the last 3 years. We are currently a team of more than 40 people, with a sales pipeline of over €100 million. There are  a lot of potential customers interested in our solution, so going forward, we plan to hire an additional 100 team members every year to meet future demands. 

And the people you hire are all ANDRITZ employees?
Some are internal people, but we also hire externally. Our rapid growth is also facilitated by the attractiveness of green hydrogen among many talents on the market to work on the topic. Especially young engineers that are purpose-driven are excited to work with us – which is also rewarding for me.

A key part of your growth has been the partnership with the Norwegian electrolyzer startup HydrogenPRO. How did this partnership accelerate your market entry?

We have always been looking for cooperations, be it internally within ANDRITZ or from outside to enhance our technological capabilities. The partnership with HydrogenPro has significantly accelerated our market entry as it combines HydrogenPro’s specialised expertise in high-pressure alkaline electrolyzer (AEL) technology with our proficiency in plant manufacturing. This partnership ultimately integrates the electrolyser technology into our EPC (Engineering, Procurement, and Construction) offerings.

Model view of an ANDRITZ green hydrogen plant © ANDRITZ

Can you provide some insights to the lighthouse project with Salzgitter AG, a German company who has ordered a 100 MW green hydrogen plant for low-CO2 steel production?

Salzgitter AG’s decision to order one of Europe’s largest green hydrogen production facilities from ANDRITZ was a pivotal moment for us in the validation of our technological capabilities. Starting in 2026, the plant will produce around 9,000 tons of green hydrogen per year, which will be used to produce green steel and replace coal. It’s part of the larger SALCOS® program, a commitment of Salzgitter to achieving nearly CO2-free steel production by 2033. We are really proud to be chosen as a partner by Salzgitter. It shows a strong message to the market that we are capable of delivering industrial scale green hydrogen plants.

The order of one of Europe's largest green hydrogen production facilities from ANDRITZ was a pivotal moment for us in the validation of our technological capabilities

Compared to many other corporate ventures, your growth rate is truly exceptional. Can you tell us some factors that allowed you to grow so quickly in recent years?

Well, firstly we received strong support from our top management, which pushed us to enter the market rapidly. Additionally, the ANDRITZ Ventures Startup Contest established clear timelines and milestones, encouraging us to progress within a defined time frame. Also, at ANDRITZ, we have a network of skilled and experienced experts worldwide, ready to provide support when facing challenges. Lastly, we were able to promptly hire external talent as mentioned before, which is crucial for staffing key positions at the right times.

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What role will green hydrogen play for ANDRITZ in the long term? What potential do you see for this technology in the future?

The green hydrogen division is a fundamental part of ANDRITZ’s wider sustainability and innovation strategy. We are focusing on industries where green hydrogen can have a substantial impact, including transportation, energy, and manufacturing. Hydrogen will be crucial for bridging the energy gap, especially in storing and transporting renewable energy. This is vital as we need to make renewable energy available around the clock, not just when the sun shines or the wind blows. Additionally, hydrogen plays a key role in further decarbonizing energy-intensive industries like steel and cement. These sectors can’t rely solely on electrification due to their high-temperature requirements. By replacing natural gas with hydrogen, we can significantly reduce carbon emissions in these industries and we are happy to be part of it. 

Lastly, with all the learnings you have made over the last 3.5 years: what are 3 tips that you would give to other corporate entrepreneurs out there in developing an idea into a successful venture?

First of all, my piece of advice would be to leverage your company’s core strengths with your startup idea. It’s about aligning your ventures in such a way that they not only complement but also enhance your existing capabilities. Secondly: Listen to your customers! It sounds simple, but it’s profound. Engaging with your customers early and often, gathering their feedback, allows you to refine your product in a way that truly meets their needs and addresses market demands. Lastly, do not underestimate the power of building strategic partnerships. Collaborating with both internal and external partners can dramatically accelerate your development process and broaden your access to essential resources.

Thank you for your insights, Peter. Good luck on your continued journey!

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Michael Obrist
Innovation Manager

Michael Obrist

Michael Obrist

Innovation Manager