Power-to-X: Making Green Hydrogen and E-fuels 


Green hydrogen is the rising star of the Power-to-X (P2X) industry, providing a clean energy source for decarbonizing American industry. 


Some of the hardest sectors to decarbonize are mainstays of the American economy – aviation, shipping, trucking, petrochemicals, and steelmaking. Green hydrogen and hydrogen-derived e-fuels offer a solution for eliminating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, including CO2, from these industries.

The rapid growth of renewable energy in the U.S. has laid the foundation for scaling up and building out green hydrogen infrastructure. Combined with America’s longtime experience in fuel production, this will enable the U.S. to decarbonize its economy, create jobs, and lead the global P2X market.
Two stacked copies of Ørsted's 'The Power of American Green Hydrogen' white paper, showing a Power-to-X (P2X) facility.

The Power
of American
Green Hydrogen

How is green hydrogen made?


Power-to-X (P2X) is the umbrella term for turning electricity into something else. In the case of green hydrogen, clean energy is used to power electrolysis, a zero-emissions chemical process that extracts hydrogen from water. The resulting hydrogen, which has fully renewable inputs and outputs, is known as renewable or green hydrogen. Green hydrogen can also be combined with other elements to create e-fuels, such as e-ammonia and e-methanol. 

 

The advantages of green hydrogen 


From an environmental perspective, green hydrogen is a zero-emissions energy source that offers a clean alternative to the fossil fuels currently powering heavy industries. It also serves as a building block for e-fuels, whose varied chemical profiles suit a wide range of industrial applications. Using green hydrogen and e-fuels will help lower emissions from America’s heavy industries in time to meet the country’s climate targets. 

Expanding the green hydrogen sector will also be an economic windfall for the American workforce. New domestic jobs will become available to young and experienced energy professionals at wind farms, solar plants, P2X facilities, etc. Sectors using green hydrogen for industrial applications – such as steelmaking, ship bunkering, and pipeline development – will also see a rise in job opportunities.  
Illustration of the process of electrolysis, which uses renewable energy and water to produce green hydrogen and e-fuels.

A landmark green fuels agreement


In March 2022, we formally entered the American P2X market with a landmark agreement to develop a P2X facility on the Gulf Coast. This facility will produce ~300,000 metric tons of e-methanol annually to power 19 ships for Maersk, a leading integrated container logistics company.

Read more about our global Power-to-X projects

An Ørsted worker wearing orange safety equipment stands by a control panel at a Power-to-X (P2X) facility.

Your partner in P2X

 
Successfully scaling up green hydrogen will require effort from policymakers, investors, renewable energy producers, and industrial consumers and suppliers. That’s why Ørsted is working with leading industry, production, and regulatory partners to develop the large-scale production of renewable hydrogen and e-fuels. 
FAQ
  • What is Power-to-X? 
    Power-to-X (P2X) is the process of turning electricity into something else. P2X technology uses clean electricity obtained from renewable energy sources, such as wind or solar farms, to power the production of green hydrogen. 

    P2X is the umbrella term for both this type of hydrogen electrolysis and the steps that can be added to it to produce hydrogen-derived e-fuels. For example, when green hydrogen is combined with carbon, it can produce e-methanol, which can in turn be refined into other hydrocarbons. When green hydrogen is combined with nitrogen, it can be turned into e-ammonia, a zero-carbon e-fuel. 
  • What is hydrogen?

    Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe. In its purest form, hydrogen is usually a gas – a colorless, odorless substance that can be burned to produce heat. It’s also one part of a water molecule. Unlike fossil fuels, hydrogen has no carbon in it. Because of this, using hydrogen as a fuel to produce energy does not release CO2. 

    Hydrogen is not a new product. The U.S. already produces ~10 million metric tons of hydrogen per year. Globally, hydrogen is used mostly in oil refineries, for the production of ammonia and methanol, and other chemical and industrial processes. Current hydrogen demand is almost exclusively met with hydrogen produced by "cracking" fossil fuels at a molecular level. So, while using hydrogen does not add CO2 to the atmosphere, traditional methods of producing it do. 

  • How is green hydrogen produced?
    Green hydrogen, also called renewable hydrogen, is produced by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen using renewable electricity. The hydrogen is collected and used, while the oxygen is released as a byproduct or used locally. The technology behind this splitting process (known as hydrogen electrolysis) is well-established, having been commercially viable and available around the world for decades.
  • Why use green hydrogen?
    Green hydrogen is a carbon-free fuel produced without emitting greenhouse gases (GHG). Replacing fossil fuel-based hydrogen with green hydrogen in industrial processes and for heavy transportation would significantly lower U.S. emissions and contribute to America’s climate targets.  

    Meanwhile, as the price of wind and solar generation has fallen, renewable energy has become cost-competitive with coal, gas, and nuclear power. This makes the economic argument for producing and using green hydrogen stronger than ever.  
  • Is renewable hydrogen safe?
    If handled correctly, renewable hydrogen is safe. Hydrogen is a non-toxic gas at room temperature and atmospheric pressure, and explosive when mixed with air under certain conditions. However, tried and true international standards exist for designing and monitoring hydrogen installations. Many sectors have been using hydrogen in their industrial processes for decades, making it a common product used in familiar applications.
  • What are the uses of hydrogen?

    In the carbon-heavy sectors of industry and transportation, there are at least three immediate, short-term uses for renewable hydrogen: 

    • Replacing the use of fossil fuel-based hydrogen with renewable hydrogen in processes like refining petroleum, treating metals, producing fertilizer, and processing food. 
    • Providing industrial heat for manufacturing processes, such as steelmaking, which are difficult to directly electrify. 
    • Using renewable hydrogen as a fuel or component of e-fuels for transportation, including in shipping, aviation, and for medium- to heavy-duty ground transportation vehicles. E-fuels for these applications include e-methanol, e-ammonia, and e-kerosene. 

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