SMA Solar Technology has filed a patent for a device that enables electrolysis using photovoltaically generated DC power. The device includes an electrolyzer and a DC/DC converter, with the converter feeding power to the electrolyzer via a DC bus. The photovoltaic sub-generator is connected to the converter through a disconnector that requires a successful isolation check. Additionally, a second disconnector is placed between the main string and the first disconnector, opening when a predefined limit of fault current is exceeded. GlobalData’s report on SMA Solar Technology gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.

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According to GlobalData s company profile on SMA Solar Technology, smart energy mgmt systems was a key innovation area identified from patents. SMA Solar Technology's grant share as of June 2023 was 1%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.

The patent filed is for a device for electrolysis from photovoltaically generated dc power

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Credit: SMA Solar Technology AG

A recently filed patent (Publication Number: US20230198247A1) describes a device for electrolysis that operates using photovoltaically generated DC power. The device includes an electrolyzer and a DC/DC converter that feeds DC power to the electrolyzer via a DC bus. The DC power is generated by a photovoltaic (PV) sub-generator connected to the DC/DC converter. The PV sub-generator is connected to the DC/DC converter via a first disconnector, which is coupled to an isolation monitoring structure. This ensures that the PV sub-generator is sufficiently isolated before the first disconnector can be closed.

The PV sub-generator consists of a main string, and a second disconnector is arranged between the main string and the first disconnector. The second disconnector is connected to a fault current monitoring circuit of the main string. If the fault current in the main string exceeds a predefined limit value, the second disconnector is opened.

The DC/DC converter in the device is a step-down converter. One pole of the PV sub-generator is electrically connected to one pole of the DC bus during operation. The DC/DC converter includes a change-over switch that selects the electrically connected pole of the PV sub-generator. The selection of the pole to be connected is based on the fault current monitoring circuit.

The fault current monitoring circuit in the device can be implemented using coaxial conductors or a laminated alternating layer stack for the lines to be monitored. The main string can consist of multiple parallel strings, and the fault current monitoring circuit is configured to monitor these parallel strings.

The patent also describes a method of operating the device. Before the PV sub-generator is switched on, the isolation of the PV sub-generator is checked using an isolation monitoring structure. The PV sub-generator is switched on only when the minimum isolation is exceeded. After the PV sub-generator is switched on, the fault current in the main string is monitored using the fault current monitoring circuit. If the fault current exceeds a predefined limit value, the main string is disconnected from the DC/DC converter.

Overall, this patent describes a device and method for electrolysis using photovoltaically generated DC power. The device includes various safety features, such as isolation monitoring and fault current monitoring, to ensure safe and efficient operation.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData Patent Analytics tracks bibliographic data, legal events data, point in time patent ownerships, and backward and forward citations from global patenting offices. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies