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TERRENUS ENERGY

Green Hydrogen

Longi unwraps reasons behind green hydrogen shift

Longi’s green power and green hydrogen plans will provide much-needed decarbonisation opportunities to heavy industries such as metals manufacturing. Image: Pixabay

In recent years, Longi has turned its attention to green hydrogen. Li Zhenguo, company founder and CEO, speaks with Vincent Shaw in Shanghai about the strategic shift and how coupling this technology with solar PV will be key to achieving carbon neutrality.

From pv magazine 05/2022

How does Longi view the relationship between hydrogen, solar and storage?

Longi firmly believes that green power and green hydrogen is the best solution to achieving carbon neutrality. Solar power (green electricity) fundamentally reduces carbon emissions in hydrogen production. And as an extended application of solar energy, hydrogen production can bring hundreds of gigawatt-level increments. In addition, green hydrogen is a new type of energy storage that can address intermittency issues. This is what we call the “green electricity – green hydrogen – green electricity” cycle.

Low-cost solar power is critical to the development of hydrogen. It takes around 50 kWh to produce 1 kg of hydrogen by electrolysis. If the cost of PV electricity drops to US$3.33 cents per kilowatt-hour, the total power cost for 1 kilogram of hydrogen will drop to around US$1.67. If the cost of PV electricity drops to 1.67 cents per kilowatt-hour, the total power cost for 1 kilogram of hydrogen would be around US$0.83, which means the cost of green hydrogen from electrolysis is even lower than the current cost of hydrogen produced from coal (grey hydrogen).

The world currently consumes about 80 million tons of hydrogen every year, and most of it is grey. For green hydrogen to account for 15% of consumption, it requires about 450 GW of PV installations to support it. That is why we say solar and hydrogen production are inextricably linked in terms of scale and cost.

As a solar company, entering the hydrogen industry requires a strategic change. How have you approached this?

In 2018, Longi began to conduct strategic research into the hydrogen value chain. On March 31, 2021, we established Longi Hydrogen Energy Technology Co., Ltd., and our first hydrogen energy equipment manufacturing plant in Wuxi, China. The first 1,000 Nm³/h alkaline water electrolyser was officially launched in October 2021, and so far, several more have been delivered to our customers and put into production. The production capacity of the Wuxi plant will reach 1.5 GW by the end of 2022 and is expected to reach 5 GW to 10 GW by 2025. The “green power and green hydrogen” solution fully covers synthetic methanol, synthetic ammonia, steel smelting, petroleum refining, and other industries that are in urgent need of decarbonisation. As a renewable energy industry leader, we will continue investing in R&D to increase efficiency and reduce the cost of both solar PV and hydrogen production. In addition, we have developed a five-year development strategy for the hydrogen business and are committed to accelerating the global transition to clean energy.

What are Longi’s strategic hydrogen plans?

Longi has launched its alkaline water electrolyser, which marks a significant milestone, and represents a key step towards becoming a world-leading hydrogen technology company. Our electrolyser can provide a hydrogen output of 1,000 Nm³/h and we have already provided a 4000 Nm³/h hydrogen production system for the world’s largest green hydrogen project. The service life of the equipment exceeds 200,000 hours. The distributed I/O control system realises automatic and unattended operation. We will continue to invest in R&D and innovation and push for the development of products based on our technical abilities.

What is the biggest challenge for the development of hydrogen and how can it be resolved?

Like other green energies, the development of green hydrogen is highly dependent on policy. Interest rates and carbon prices play critical roles in the cost of green hydrogen. We have made a simple calculation: If the technical cost is considered, the cost of green hydrogen is around US$1.17 to US$1.33 per kg, which is very close to or even lower than that of grey hydrogen. This calculation is very sensitive to interest rates. If the local interest is 5%, the cost of green hydrogen will grow to around US$3.33. Therefore, green hydrogen is financially competitive in countries with low-interest rates, like Europe and Japan; but there are still cost difficulties in China.

The second constraint is the carbon price. Compared to grey hydrogen, green hydrogen saves around 20 kg of carbon dioxide emissions per kilogram of hydrogen. Based on the present carbon price in Europe, which means an extra income of about US$1.33, it makes green hydrogen more cost competitive. Therefore, green hydrogen has an absolute economic advantage in regions such as the European Union with low-interest rates and high carbon prices. However, in China, the current carbon price from Shanghai Carbon Exchange is only around US$8.33 per metric ton, which means a compensation rate of around US$0.17/kg for green hydrogen. This is far from enough for the development of China’s green hydrogen.

What are the trends in green hydrogen pricing?

It is possible to realise US$0.25 per cubic meter on the production side. The cost rise in the PV industry in the past two years is temporary. I believe the cost of solar will continue to decline, and eventually, in many places, PV power will reach 3.33 cents or even lower per kilowatt-hour. In that case, the power cost for water electrolysis would be around US$0.15 per cubic meter, thus allowing hydrogen to achieve US$0.25 per cubic meter.

What are the main applications for green hydrogen?

We see a variety of industries that need hydrogen, and especially green hydrogen. For example, in petroleum refining, hydrogen is used as a feedstock, reagent, and energy source. Hydrotreating is one of the key links in the refining process, involving processes such as hydrogenation, hydrodesulfurisation, hydrodenitrogenation, and hydrodemetallisation. Gasoline and diesel hydrogenation, wax oil hydrogenation, and hydrocracking units also require a lot of hydrogen consumption. The global oil refining industry consumes 38 million tons of hydrogen every year, accounting for 33% of the global hydrogen demand. The International Energy Agency estimates that demand for hydrogen in the refining industry will continue to grow. Meanwhile, tighter standards for air pollutants will lead to an extra 7% increase in hydrogen use in refining.

Author: Vincent Shaw

Hydrogen generation from organic waste, non-recyclable plastic

The oH2 system is installed in a 20-foot standard container. The plants are cascadable. Image: H2 Industries

US-based H2 Industries plans to produce hydrogen from organic waste and non-recyclable plastic. pv magazine recently spoke with its executive president, Michael Stusch, about the main technologies behind the project.

From pv magazine

New York-based H2-Industries has announced a plan to produce 300,000 tons of hydrogen per year in Egypt, out of up to 4 million tons of organic waste and non-recyclable plastic.

The company said its Suez Canal Project is the first of its kind in the world. It explained that hydrogen production at the planned facility could achieve a levelized cost of hydrogen (LCOH) that is almost half of other existing green hydrogen production technologies, and also lower than that of gray hydrogen.

“We are currently in discussion for similar projects in 30 countries from South America, Europe, the Middle East to all areas in Africa,” H2 Industries Executive Chairman Michael Stusch told pv magazine, noting that preliminary approvals for the project in Egypt have already been secured.

H2-Industries uses a liquid organic hydrogen carrier (LOHC) technology, which it considers to be the cheapest, safest, and most reliable transportation method. Its system is based on integrated thermolysis plant units based on pre-assembled scalable modules in standard container frames, which are designed to produce hydrogen from non-recyclable plastic waste such as hydrocarbons like polyethylene, biogenic residues from agriculture, forestry, food waste, and sewage sludge.

“Thermolysis is not waste combustion, but rather a high-temperature conversion process without oxygen or air to produce hydrogen,” Stusch explained. “The thermolysis units decompose waste at temperatures of around 900 C and close to ambient pressure in the presence of steam reforming. The integrated process splits and regroups the feedstock molecules into a hydrogen-rich gas mixture and, finally, the hydrogen is purified from this mixture.”

Stusch claimed that waste-to-hydrogen is a game-changer. “A change in paradigms takes a little longer, but we are convinced it will have the bigger impact,” he said.

The technology will jump-start when the first production plants show that hydrogen from organic waste and non-recyclable plastic will be cheaper than green hydrogen, he said, noting that this may also require a supportive regulatory framework. In addition, he noted that Europe’s waste sectors are over-regulated, which poses a range of challenges.

“Nevertheless, we are in touch with potential partners in various European regions. Countries with underdeveloped waste sectors often are very open to our technology,” said Stusch.

In late April, H2 Industries unveiled plans to develop a $1.4 billion waste-to-hydrogen plant in conjunction with PV solar power plants and baseload capacity in Oman.

Core criticism

Not everybody is in favor of using waste-to-hydrogen technology. Canadian expert Martin said that municipal solid waste (MSW) contains some energy but that any fuel that you make out of it has to be considered fossil fuel.

“Once you take into account the energy needed to dry it, the net energy in excess of the energy required for drying, is of fossil origin,” he told pv magazine, adding that it is better to bury non-recyclable plastics. “They cease to degrade. They do not release their fossil CO2 content for thousands of years.”

According to Martin, there is a growing interest in technology, especially in countries running out of landfill space. “They should therefore focus on better waste segregation, waste reduction, and recycling. Switching from landfilling to air-filling is not a good tradeoff.”

He also argued that wet organic content should be removed at the source and fed to anaerobic digesters to make biogas. “It needs not to be converted to hydrogen, wasting at least 30% of its energy content in the process.”

Author: Sergio Matalucci

The Hydrogen Stream: World’s first hydrogen-powered towboat

Image: Hermann Barthel

Shipbuilder Hermann Barthel has developed the world’s first push boat to combine battery-electric propulsion with hydrogen and fuel cell technology. Iberdrola and Fertiberia, meanwhile, have commissioned Europe’s largest green hydrogen production plant.

From pv magazine

Hermann Barthel has unveiled Elektra, the world’s first towboat to feature hydrogen power and fuel cell technology. It built the push boat at a shipyard in Derben, Germany, over a period of almost two years. “The entire project is a blueprint for climate and environmentally friendly inland navigation and a true pioneering achievement, not only technically but also in regulatory terms,” said German Minister for Transport Volker Wissing.

Washington State University researchers have used an ethanol and water mixture in a novel conversion system with an anode and a cathode to produce pure compressed hydrogen. The process could reduce the cost of hydrogen transport. “Hydrogen could be made on site at fueling stations, so only the ethanol solution would have to be transported,” the researchers said. They put a small amount of electricity into the ethanol and water mixture with a catalyst, electrochemically producing pure compressed hydrogen. The project, funded by the Gas Technology Institute and the US Department of Energy’s RAPID Manufacturing Institute, was recently described in Applied Catalysis A

Iberdrola has commissioned Europe’s largest green hydrogen production plant in Puertollano, Spain. It developed the project, which produces green hydrogen with a 20 MW electrolyzer, for Fertiberia. It includes a 100 MW solar array and four fully integrated 40-foot battery containers, as part of a 1.25 MW/5 MWh battery system supplied by Ingeteam.

UK Energy Storage (UKEn), a subsidiary of UK Oil & Gas, has signed a lease agreement with Portland Port Ltd. for two sites at the former Royal Navy port in Dorset, England. It aims to develop an integrated energy hub centered on hydrogen-ready gas storage and future green hydrogen-generating capabilities. The project builds upon an unrealized Portland Gas Storage plan for an underground salt cavern storage facility.

The Port of Tallinn in Estonia and Poland’s Port of Gdynia Authority have signed a letter of intent to cooperate on hydrogen management. Gdynia wants to establish a hub to produce and store renewable hydrogen. It also aims to use hydrogen-based fuels to propel vessels. “Hydrogen will help Port of Tallinn create new value chains and economic opportunities and in doing so reach carbon neutrality,” said Valdo Kalm, CEO of the Port of Tallinn. 

Renewable Energy Hub Flevoland is now set to supply 1 GW of sustainable energy to the Netherlands by 2030, as GIGA-Storage, EQUANS, Circul8 Energy, Smartgrid Flevoland, Solarvation, ACRRES and Wageningen University & Research have agreed to teamed up on its development. The hub will combine wind, solar, batteries and hydrogen. “In this way, power can be continuously supplied to the grid, even when the sun is not shining or the wind is not blowing,” said the provincial authorities in Flevoland, which aims to become the Dutch testing ground for storage solutions.

Corstyrene inaugurated its first two hydrogen stations on May 19 in Aléria, Corsica. The expanded polystyrene specialist has teamed up with green hydrogen producer Atawey to install an electrolyzer that will produce up to 1 ton of green hydrogen per year, powered by 100 kWp of solar shading systems.

Author: Sergio Matalucci

Perovskites studied as potential material to produce renewable hydrogen

A conceptual solar thermochemical hydrogen production platform. Image: Patrick Davenport, NREL

National Renewable Energy Laboratory researchers are looking at perovskite materials for a solar-fuel platform that supports the US Department of Energy’s HydroGEN project.

From pv magazine USA

Hydrogen is increasingly the focus of research on using renewable resources for energy storage, especially in light of the Department of Energy’s Hydrogen Energy Earthshot, a goal to cut the cost of clean hydrogen by 80% to $1 per kilogram in a decade. With hydrogen from renewable energy currently at about $5 per kilogram, researchers are looking at many ways of cutting those costs.

At the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL), researchers are looking at perovskite materials, which could be used in a process to produce hydrogen in a renewable manner. The focus of their study is an emerging water-splitting technology called solar thermochemical hydrogen (STCH) production, which can be potentially more energy efficient than producing hydrogen via the commonly used electrolysis method. The researchers evaluated the performance of various STCH materials in the context of a system platform to assess techno-economic benefits and what the challenges would be to scaling up STCH production.

“It’s certainly a very challenging field, and it has a lot of research questions still unanswered, mainly on the materials perspective,” said Zhiwen Ma, a senior engineer at NREL and lead author of a new paper, “System and Technoeconomic Analysis of Solar Thermochemical Hydrogen Production,” which appears in the journal Renewable Energy. His co-authors, all from NREL, are Patrick Davenport and Genevieve Saur.

The paper complements ongoing materials discovery research by examining how different materials may bring costs down. One of the challenges in the research was in identifying perovskites capable of handling the high temperatures required while hitting performance targets. Another challenge is that in STCH, the PV cells used only capture a part of the solar spectrum, and STCH uses the entire spectrum. Research to identify the best materials for STCH is critical to the success of this method for hydrogen production, the scientists noted.

“The material has not necessarily been found,” Saur said, “but this analysis is to provide some boundaries for where we think the costs will be if the materials meet some of the targets and expectations that the research community envisions.”

Author: Anne Fischer

Western Australia to host green hydrogen project powered by 5.2 GW of wind, PV

Image: MHR

Investors have applied for an environmental assessment for about 5 GW of wind and solar in Australia, which will support plans to produce green hydrogen and ammonia at a massive new facility.

From pv magazine Australia

The Murchison Hydrogen Renewables project, under development near the Western Australian coastal town of Kalbarri, will use 5.2 GW of wind and solar to produce renewable hydrogen. That will then be converted to an estimated 2 million tons of green ammonia per annum, for domestic use and export.

The ambitious project was first proposed by Hydrogen Renewables Australia in 2019. The project is now being led by investment firm Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners via its Murchison Hydrogen Renewables (MHR) offshoot. While no specific details about the ambitious project were previously available, a referral filed this week with the state’s Environment Protection Authority (EPA) reveals the true scale of the project.

The submission shows that MHR plans to install about 1.5 GW of solar PV and an estimated 700 onshore wind turbines with a combined capacity of about 3.7 GW. A Power-to-X (PtX) plant will be constructed on site to convert the renewable energy into green hydrogen, which will be converted into an estimated 2 million tons of green ammonia per year.

The facility will be equipped with about 3 GW of electrolyzers while a purpose-built water treatment and desalination plant will generate about 6 giga-liters of “demineralised water” a year for use in the production process. The PtX plant will be coupled with 250 MW to 350 MW of battery storage with a two-hour duration that will be used to regulate the renewable energy prior to distribution to the electrolysers.

The proposal also includes hydrogen storage which will be used as an intermediary between electricity and ammonia. It is anticipated that up to 200 hydrogen storage vessels, each with a capacity of up to 680 tons, will be installed.

The green ammonia produced at the site is to be exported to emerging green energy markets with a pipeline to link the PtX plant and storage facility to a marine export facility. The submission also highlights the potential for local, domestic offtake as hydrogen or ammonia.

Hydrogen Renewables Australia has already secured a long-term agreement with the pastoral lessees of the Murchison House Station and announced Siemens as the proposed plant’s technology partner.

The project is expected to be developed in three stages. The first stage would comprise a demonstration phase producing hydrogen for transport fuels, to be followed by an expansion to blend with natural gas into the nearby Dampier to Bunbury pipeline. The third and final phase would include an expansion to produce hydrogen for export to Asian markets.

Hydrogen Renewables Australia has previously indicated the potential for the proposed project to scale up over a six-year period, reaching full capacity toward the end of this decade. The referral to the EPA is currently open to public comment until May 8.

Author: David Carrol

Renewable offshore floating hydrogen production

Image: University College Cork, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Review, Creative Commons License CC BY 4.0

Scottish Development International and J-DeEP are developing a floating offshore hydrogen production plant off the coast of Scotland. Research shows the combination of large-scale offshore renewables and floating hydrogen production could soon become viable, depending on the project configuration.

From pv magazine

ClassNK, a Japanese ship classification society, has issued an approval in principle (AiP) for a floating offshore hydrogen plant that the Japan Offshore Design and Engineering Platform Technology and Engineering Research Association (J-DeEP) is developing off the coast of Scotland.

The hydrogen platform will be driven by surplus power generated by wind turbines. It will combine a seawater desalination system and a system to extract hydrogen from water through electrolysis. The project is being developed in partnership with the international arm of the Scottish government and Scottish Development International, which has helped J-DeEP to conduct the feasibility study.

“ClassNK conducted a safety evaluation on J-DeEP’s design of the plant in line with its rules and guidelines,” the organization said in a statement. “Upon confirming that the design complied with the relevant requirements, ClassNK has issued AiP.”

According to a recent study from the University College Cork in Ireland, the coupling of high-capacity floating offshore wind with green hydrogen production could be an important opportunity to further decarbonize the energy sector. The scientists have presented three project typologies based on variables such as electrolyzer technologies, floating wind platforms, and energy transmission. The typologies include offshore systems based on centralized onshore electrolysis, decentralized offshore electrolysis, and centralized offshore electrolysis.

“The energy transmission vector was the key feature of the three typologies discussed with emphasis on the major components of the systems, to limit the complexity of the paper while highlighting more detailed topics for future analysis,” the scientists said.

ClassNK, a Japanese ship classification society, has issued an approval in principle (AiP) for a floating offshore hydrogen plant that the Japan Offshore Design and Engineering Platform Technology and Engineering Research Association (J-DeEP) is developing off the coast of Scotland.

The hydrogen platform will be driven by surplus power generated by wind turbines. It will combine a seawater desalination system and a system to extract hydrogen from water through electrolysis. The project is being developed in partnership with the international arm of the Scottish government and Scottish Development International, which has helped J-DeEP to conduct the feasibility study.

“ClassNK conducted a safety evaluation on J-DeEP’s design of the plant in line with its rules and guidelines,” the organization said in a statement. “Upon confirming that the design complied with the relevant requirements, ClassNK has issued AiP.”

According to a recent study from the University College Cork in Ireland, the coupling of high-capacity floating offshore wind with green hydrogen production could be an important opportunity to further decarbonize the energy sector. The scientists have presented three project typologies based on variables such as electrolyzer technologies, floating wind platforms, and energy transmission. The typologies include offshore systems based on centralized onshore electrolysis, decentralized offshore electrolysis, and centralized offshore electrolysis.

“The energy transmission vector was the key feature of the three typologies discussed with emphasis on the major components of the systems, to limit the complexity of the paper while highlighting more detailed topics for future analysis,” the scientists said.

Author: Emiliano Bellini

China sets green hydrogen target for 2025, eyes widespread use

A Chinese flag flutters outside the Chinese foreign ministry in Beijing, China. Image: Reuters/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

From Reuters

BEIJING: China’s top economic planner announced a target on Wednesday (Mar 23) to produce up to 200,000 tonnes per year of green hydrogen, a zero-carbon fuel generated from renewable energy sources, by 2025, but envisions a more widespread industry over the long term.

The country aims to produce 100,000 tonnes to 200,000 tonnes of green hydrogen a year and have about 50,000 hydrogen-fuelled vehicles by 2025, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said in a statement.

China, the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, has been striving to balance energy security and achieve its climate change goals, and is focusing on hydrogen to reduce carbon emissions from its transportation and industrial sectors.

Green hydrogen is gas produced from breaking down water in electrolysis using renewable energy sources, reducing the amount of carbon emissions released during the process compared to hydrogen created from natural gas or coal.

“Development of hydrogen is an important move for energy transition and a great support for China’s carbon peak and carbon neutrality goals,” said Wang Xiang, the deputy director of the High Technology Department at the NDRC, at a press briefing.

China currently produces 33 million tonnes of hydrogen a year, with about 80 per cent of hydrogen coming from coal and natural gas, and the rest mainly a by-product from industrial sectors, according to the government.

Data from the China Hydrogen Alliance, an industrial association, shows the country produced 500,000 tonnes of hydrogen from water electrolysis in 2019.

Wang said that even though most of China’s hydrogen is produced from fossil fuels, the potential of green hydrogen is huge since the country has the world’s largest renewable power capacity.

The NDRC statement said that China aims to establish a complete hydrogen industry covering transportation, energy storage and industrial sectors, and “significantly improve” the portion of green hydrogen in China’s energy consumption by 2035.

The China Hydrogen Alliance has estimated China’s hydrogen demand will reach 35 million tonnes per year by 2030, from 20 million tonnes now, and reach 60 million tonnes by 2050.

Hydrogen can be used in fuel cells and in internal combustion engines.

High production costs are one of the major obstacles impeding hydrogen development. Analysts estimate that hydrogen prices would need to halve in order to compete with gasoline and diesel.

The NDRC called for a rational layout of hydrogen projects based on resources and market demand to avoid disorderly competition.

“Local government will be strictly forbidden to blindly follow the trend of hydrogen project construction and will be prevented from building low-end projects in order to avoid the waste of resources,” said Wang.

Almost all provinces and regions in China have included hydrogen into their development plans.

Some major Chinese companies in the energy, auto and metallurgy sectors, such as Sinopec, Baosteel and GCL, have also expanded their businesses to include hydrogen production, using natural gas and renewable energy, building hydrogen filling stations and using hydrogen in steelmaking and transportation.

Paving the way for green hydrogen certification

The Port of Rotterdam is set to become a hydrogen hub. Image: Frans Berkelaar/Flickr

The International Renewable Energy Agency has outlined a series of technical considerations for green hydrogen tracking systems. According to the document, a degree of flexibility should be taken into account in the short term to ensure that the nascent green hydrogen market can develop.

From pv magazine

The decarbonising end-use sectors working group at the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has provided a set of key recommendations for the creation of green hydrogen certificates and standards.

In the document “Decarbonising End-use Sectors: Green Hydrogen Certification,” the group of experts stressed the importance of relying on independent third parties for the verification of all data on the green hydrogen tracking systems, as well as on objective and public disclosure standards.

Two main models were identified for the future certification scheme: a “book and claim” system that is mostly applied to renewable electricity, in which the claim on consuming renewable energy booked by an energy provider is separate from the physical flow; and a “mass balancing” system that is commonly utilized for biofuels, in which a physical link between the production and consumption of green energy must always be proved.

“By granting consumers fully reliable information on the hydrogen supplied to them, such a tracking system can incentivize companies to commit to using green hydrogen, create social interest, and promote consumer information, and therefore have the potential to accelerate the clean energy transition,” the report reads. “The standardization of these certificates can also allow and support the development of green hydrogen trading and accelerate the emergence and establishment of an international market.”

The document also highlighted the difficulty of implementing common regulations on a global scale and the possibility that several communication issues may arise between the systems of different countries. “Transparency issues may come up if information on the production process and transport, particularly relating to links with non-renewables, is not clearly traced, documented, and stated,” the IRENA experts noted.

Four main requirements were outlined for the certification of hydrogen produced by renewable energy sources: A temporal correlation ensuring that the electricity used for the electrolysis is renewable; a geographical correlation, requiring some degree of physical link, for the hydrogen production; avoiding higher shares of fossil-generated electricity elsewhere in the electricity system; and specifications providing full transparency and information on the resources used.

Furthermore, carbon emissions should be considered for each kilogram of green hydrogen along the entire value chain, from production to transport. “Nevertheless, a degree of flexibility in regard to the geographical, temporal and additionality requirements should be taken into account in the short term to ensure that the nascent green hydrogen market can develop,” the document notes.

Author: Emiliano Bellini