This month, BP and Orsted sign letter of intent to collaborate on the development of a large-scale renewable hydrogen project at a refinery in northwest Germany, one of the latest announcements related to the energy sector’s development of “green hydrogen.”
According to BP, the project will involve the development of an initial 50 MW electrolyser and associated infrastructure at its Lingen Refinery. The electrolyser is expected to generate nearly 9,000 metric tons of hydrogen per year. A final investment decision is expected in 2022 and the project could operational by 2024. Orsted said it expects the electrolyser at the Lingen Green Hydrogen project to be powered by one of its offshore wind farms in the North Sea.
“Green hydrogen,” hydrogen produced through renewable-powered water electrolysis, has the potential to help decarbonize energy grids. In particular, green hydrogen can be flexible and dispatchable for emissions-free power from intermittent sources like solar and wind. With a sufficient source of blue/green hydrogen production and a storage and transportation network that can reliably and cost effectively supply hydrogen.
The cost of production for green hydrogen remains prohibitively high compared to “blue” and “grey.” If enough governments and local states and utilities are serious about switching from carbon-intensive sources of emissions, then early investment may help increase demand for hydrogen while reducing costs to produce it that are, right now, carbon intensive. The International Energy Agency (IEA) has said that hydrogen production is responsible for roughly 830 million metric tons of carbon dioxide each year.
BP and Orsted are helping the EU meet its plan to install 40 gigawatts of renewable hydrogen electrolysers and produce as much as 10 million metric tons of renewable hydrogen by 2030. According to the IEA, today’s global hydrogen production amounts to roughly 70 million metric tons per year.
The same week, a coalition that includes the National Association of State Energy Officials, the Western Interstate Energy Board, and the Green Hydrogen Coalition and Mitsubishi Power announced the launch of the “Western Green Hydrogen Initiative” (WGHI).
The initiative is a public-private partnership to “advance and accelerate green hydrogen infrastructure in the Western region, including the development of large-scale, long-duration green-hydrogen-based renewable energy storage,” according to a press release.
WGHI will facilitate R&D and development of green hydrogen to scale its commercial technology while addressing regulatory hurdles. The coalition said the initiative will support regional grid and gas sector modeling and existing energy infrastructure. State energy regulations will help determine the development of hydrogen storage and utilization roadmaps.
In a press release, the WGHI said that “green hydrogen can help avoid uneconomic grid buildout, prevent renewable curtailment, repurpose existing infrastructure, reduce greenhouse gases and air pollution, reduce agricultural and municipal waste, and diversify fuels for multiple sectors from steel production to aviation.”
Meanwhile, this fall, Long Ridge Energy Terminal, a 485 MW combined cycle power plant in Ohio, will transition to run on hydrogen as soon as next year through a partnership with GE and New Fortress Energy. The plant will blend hydrogen in the gas stream and transition the plant to be capable of burning 100% green hydrogen over the next decade. Commercial operations are planned for November 2021. It shows that major energy companies are investing in hydrogen, including GE, BP, Mitsubishi Power, and Siemens Energy, the race to reduce carbon emissions.