Monday, December 9, 2019

"Ørsted Bets Hydrogen Is Key to Climate Goals"

Interesting. Ørsted is one of the big dogs of the Danish wind biz.
From Bloomberg via gCaptain:
One of the world’s biggest developers of offshore wind farms thinks its massive turbines could be key to the production of hydrogen in a greener way and ultimately, stemming climate change.

Over the past decade, offshore wind has pushed from a frontier technology to a multi-billion-dollar industry that provides green power cheap enough to compete with fossil fuels. Orsted A/S, a Danish company, anticipates that the scale and efficiency of wind farms at sea can play a crucial role to supply heavy industry with green hydrogen.

Hydrogen is important because it’s one of the few fuels that can burn hot enough to make steel and cement, two of the most polluting industries. At the moment, most hydrogen is derived from natural gas and causes greenhouse gas emissions. Getting the element from electrolysis driven by wind farms would make it a zero-emissions fuel, since no carbon dioxide comes with hydrogen in the combustion process. As long as these heavy industries rely on polluting fossil fuels, it may be impossible to achieve the goals in the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change

“You cannot do it without hydrogen,” Anders Nordstrom, head of hydrogen at Orsted, said in an interview. “Everything that can be electrified, you should electrify, but that leaves a substantial part of de-carbonization where hydrogen is the second-best option because electricity isn’t feasible.”
Manufacturing is responsible for about 10% of global carbon dioxide emissions because it relies on high-temperature furnaces that mostly run on fossil fuels such as coal and oil. Some processes like cement require chemical reactions that throw off CO2 in addition to the emissions from burning fuels.

Hydrogen can be used as an alternative fuel in many of those processes. The issue is getting the gas without making more CO2.

Machines known as electrolyzers can create the hydrogen by splitting it out of water molecules. And when it burns, hydrogen leaves only water vapor behind. If the whole process is powered by a wind farm, no emissions are involved.

To Orsted, it makes sense to pair offshore wind farms with hydrogen electrolyzers. Wind turbines are bigger and run more often when they’re sited at sea instead of on land — often enough that they sometimes spin when the grid can’t absorb more power.

Hydrogen factories could take that power and turn it into a gas. That would deliver another benefit in that they can store that energy for use later — something that’s more difficult when the energy comes in the form of electricity....MORE