In 2016-2017, together with ECN part of TNO, Energy Valley, Energy Expo and Composite Agency, HYGRO examined the future of green hydrogen, really by asking two questions:
If wind energy is converted to hydrogen in an offshore wind turbine and is then brought ashore by means of pipelines, how does this relate to offshore electricity when it comes to cost price and energy yield?
If large volumes of hydrogen are brought ashore, where will hydrogen have the highest value and how does this relate to the cost price?
The further offshore, the higher the grid connection costs of wind farms. On average, the connection capacity is used for 50%. In case of full exploitation (strong wind), the price for electricity is low due to excess supply. It seems plausible that the costs of electrolysis and hydrogen transport are lower than those of an electrical grid connection. Added advantages are the possibility of buffering and the higher value per MWh if the hydrogen gas is used in the mobility sector.
The objective of the study was to find and optimise an integrated and standardised solution for transport and distribution in order to make the cost price per kilo of hydrogen from wind turbines to different end users as low as possible. Hydrogen can eventually be supplied to different types of users, and the core question therefore is which laws and regulations must be complied with. The lower the cost price for the transport and distribution of hydrogen from wind to the end user, the quicker the hydrogen market will achieve momentum.
A large part of the cost price of hydrogen for the end user lies in transport and distribution, “from production to tank”. Type of tank, performance weight hydrogen/weight tank, pressure, temperature, and regulations for hydrogen play an important role in that cost price. In the current chain, hydrogen changes a few times in relation to tank, pressure, and temperature. By integrating and standardising the different sections of this chain, it should be possible to lower the cost price for this part of the chain.
Recently, our CEO Hugo Groenemans, was one of the co-authors to the paper: Techno-economic analysis of offshore wind PEM water electrolysis for H2 production. A model for producing hydrogen with offshore wind was developed and two scenarios are evaluated: Centralised hydrogen production onshore and integrated hydrogen production in an offshore wind turbine. This model calculated the cost of hydrogen produced by offshore wind and showed that the levelized cost of energy for hydrogen production and transportation to shore could be lower than for electricity transmission from offshore wind farms, using real wind data from a particular location. The paper concluded that: “therefore, direct coupling of the electrolysis system with an offshore wind turbine is more advantageous than transmitting electricity to shore and then producing hydrogen via traditional electrolysis; the cost of hydrogen from offshore wind electrolysis is estimated to be $2.09/kg versus $3.86/kg from traditional electrolysis using wind power.”
An important conclusion that, again, confirms our models and calculations on the advantages of the integration of an electrolysis system with offshore wind turbines.