Globally, there was a strong drive to produce renewable hydrogen. In 2020, the drive to move towards (renewable) hydrogen economy has accelerated considerably. The European Union (EU) has recently announced its hydrogen strategy. Generally speaking, all this strong activity in renewable hydrogen production can be attributed mainly to two factors: i) the struggle to achieve Greenhouse Gases (GHGs) emissions targets by 2050 and ii) the considerable decrease in the cost(s) related to electrolyzers.
In this post, we present a brief overview of some of the renewable hydrogen production projects announced globally.
The European Union (EU) has adopted a Hydrogen Strategy recently. A brief summary of the important points in the EU’s Hydrogen Strategy has been presented here.
SGH2, a global energy company, has announced to build a green hydrogen production plant in the USA. This plant will produce hydrogen using recycled mixed paper waste. As compared to the electrolysis of water, this technology reduces carbon emissions by 2-3 times more. The hydrogen produced by SGH2’s technology is also 5-7 times cheaper than that produced using electrolysis. This hydrogen is claimed to be cost-competitive with the fossil-based hydrogen in USA.
This green hydrogen production technology gasifies any type of waste i.e., paper, plastic, tires and textiles to produce hydrogen.
The planned annual production capacity of this plant is 3.8 million kilograms of green hydrogen. This capacity is nearly 3 times greater than any other existing or planned green hydrogen facility in the world. Mixed recycled paper feedstock to this setup will be supplied by The City of Lancaster.
SGH2 and the City of Lancaster are now working with leading global companies and top institutions like Berkeley Lab, Fluor, UC Berkeley, Integrity Engineers, Thermosolv, Hexagon, Millenium and HyetHydrogen to develop and implement this project.
Thyssenkrupp & Air Products
thyssenkrupp, a name which you almost always find in elevators, has signed a Strategic Cooperation Agreement (SCA) with Air Products. By the way, thyssenkrupp has sold its elevators business. Coming back to the renewable hydrogen related SCA, Air Products will own, build and operate water electrolysis plants to produce renewable hydrogen and thyssenkrupp Uhde Chlorine Engineers will supply the technology, specific engineering, equipment and technical services. Air Products will be using this green hydrogen for sustainable transportation, chemicals and power generation.
thyssenkrupp’s technology is based upon alkaline water electrolysis. At present, thyssenkrup is able to supply electrolysis plants of 1 Gigawatt (GW) per year capacity. There are plans to increase this capacity.
In the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Air Products has also announced a joint venture (JV) with ACWA Power and NEOM to build a green hydrogen-based ammonia production facility powered by renewable energy. The investment size is 5 billion US dollars and the produced ammonia will be exported globally. thyssenkrupp’s electrolysis technology will be installed to produce 650 tonnes per day of hydrogen. Annually, 1.2 million tonnes of green ammonia will be produced using Haldor Topsoe technology. The project claims to be world’s largest green hydrogen project and is scheduled to be online by 2025.
For investing in green hydrogen, Repsol, a Spanish multi-energy company, has joined hands with Petronor (a Spanish industrial center) and the Energy Agency of the Basque Government (EVE) (a public-sector leader in the energy transition). The plan is to build a plant for producing net zero emissions fuels. Green hydrogen and carbon dioxide produced by renewable energy will be used to produce these fuels.
Initially, 60 million euros will be invested in this project. It seems that a pilot plant will be built first producing 50 barrels of the synthetic fuel per day, with net zero emissions of CO2 in the entire production cycle. Results from this plant will dictate the further scale-up plans. Conceptual engineering will begin this year and the target is to make this facility fully operational in next 4 years on a commercial scale. The fuels produced will be sold to transport sector.
Iberdrola & Fertiberia
These two companies also from Spain. They have announced to partner for producing and consuming Green hydrogen. Iberdrola, a Spanish energy company, will construct the system for renewable hydrogen production. This system will consist of a 100 MW photovoltaic solar plant, a Lithium-ion battery of 20 MWh for energy storage and an electrolyser of 20 MW capacity for hydrogen production. According to Iberdrola, every year 500,000 tons of fossil-based hydrogen are produced in Spain. This production of renewable hydrogen will be a step towards cutting the fossil-based hydrogen down.
Fertiberia, a fertilizer company from from Spain, will use this clean hydrogen in ammonia synthesis. This plant of Fertiberia in Puertollano, Spain has a production capacity of more than 200,000 tons/year. Necessary modifications of the plant to use the green hydrogen in ammonia production will be done by Fertiberia. Using this hydrogen will allow Fertiberia to reduce natural gas consumption by over 10%. Oxygen produced along with hydrogen in the electrolyser will be used to produce nitric acid at the same plant. Target year for this project to be operational is 2021 with planned investment cost of 150 million Euros.
Glomfjord Hydrogen & Yara International ASA
In Norway, Glomfjord Hydrogen and Air Liquide teamed to build a complete value chain for the production and liquefaction of hydrogen in Glomfjord Industrial Park. Planned hydrogen production capacity of this set-up is 1,000 kilos per day which will be gradually increased up to 10,000 kilos per day (i.e., 200 Gwh/year). Nel, a leading Norwegian supplier of electrolyzers, storage and hydrogen fueling setup, will supply its electrolyzers for hydrogen production. The investment will be around 130 million Norwegian Krones and the goal is to be able to offer zero-emission fuel to the new ferries that will start their service life in 2024.
Other Norwegian companies like Yara International ASA are also working to launch projects involving green hydrogen. Yara International ASA has started a feasibility study to incorporate green ammonia at its fertilizer plant in Australia. There is no information given in the press release about how much of the natural gas hydrogen will be replaced by green ammonia and when the project finishes. This work will be done in collaboration with ENGIE (a company with focus on renewable energy solutions). Collaboration between these two companies started in 2019 and recently significant funding ($995,000) has been obtained from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) for this feasibility study.
Yara and Nel are also working together to test Nel’s prototype electrolyzer (of 5 MW capacity) at Yara’s Porsgrunn fertilizer plant. 5 MW capacity of this prototype electrolyzer corresponds to 1% of the hydrogen production at Porsgrunn, Norway. Installation is expected in 2022.
A.P. Moller – Maersk
In Denmark, a cross-industry partnership has been established to produce renewable hydrogen for the production of sustainable fuels. This collaboration includes A.P. Moller – Maersk, Copenhagen Airports, DSV Panalpina, DFDS, SAS and Ørsted. In the first stage of this project, a 10-MW electrolyzer will be installed and made operational by 2023 producing renewable hydrogen for buses and trucks.
In the second stage, a 250-MW electrolyzer facility will be installed and made operational by 2027. Electricity for this electrolyzer will by supplied by a 5GW wind power island which will be the world’s first offshore wind power island. Renewable methanol for maritime transport and renewable jet-fuel (e-kerosene) for the aviation sector will also be produced at this facility. For the production of these fuels, this facility would combine the production of renewable hydrogen with carbon capture from point-sources in the Greater Copenhagen area.
In the third stage, the capacity of the electrolyzer will be upgraded to 1.3 GW by 2030. Carbon capture capacity will also be increased by this time. Both of these capacity enhancements, if go as planned, will help this facility to produce and supply 250 kilo tonnes of green fuels to buses, trucks, airplanes and maritime vessels. Potentially, this project can replace 5% of fossil fuels at Copenhagen Airport by 2027 and 30% by 2030. Overall, this project will help Denmark to achieve its ambitious goal of carbon emissions reduction by 70% by 2030 compared to 1990.
What can be anticipated?
Other investments have also been announced by different companies in various countries across the globe. Several companies have entered different associations to accelerate the global effort for making hydrogen production ‘Greener’. From such massive investments, it is evident that within next five years we will be able to see a clear shift in the energy market. Renewable hydrogen and the related infrastructure will be available for use in transport sector (cars, buses, aviation and probably maritime also) and chemical manufacturing sector.