At Ørsted, we believe green hydrogen – produced using renewable energy – is a promising source of clean fuel.
The quest to decarbonize heavy industry and transportation pose significant challenges, and green hydrogen along with its secondary fuels provide a way to reduce carbon emissions from some of the world’s toughest sectors to abate. The expansive growth of the U.S. renewable energy industry combined with the nation’s history of being a leader in fuel production will allow the U.S. to drive innovation, create jobs and be a global leader in the Power-to-X (P2X) landscape.
Power-to-X – essentially "turning electricity into something else" — is the umbrella term for both hydrogen electrolysis and a series of steps that can be added to yield products such as green hydrogen, e-methanol, e-ammonia, among others.
Advantages of green hydrogen
In the U.S., we have an abundant supply of renewable electricity in wind and solar, and harnessing that resource for large-scale deployment of renewable hydrogen production can position us as a long-term energy exporter and secure American energy independence.
The growth of the green hydrogen economy creates many jobs both for new entrants and for those with experience in traditional energy sectors.
Green hydrogen doesn’t emit polluting gases and offers a zero-emission alternative to fossil fuels.
Green hydrogen is the building block to achieve many other fuels that can be used for industry, transportation and aviation.
At Ørsted, we see hydrogen as a key component of the green transition and a major growth area for our business. With proven experience in managing complex renewable energy projects, strong onshore capabilities and a large and growing Power-to-X presence in major regions such as the Gulf Coast and the Northeast, we are leading the buildout of the green hydrogen economy.
— Melissa Peterson, Head of P2X North America
Read more from Melissa here
A landmark green fuels agreement
We’ve signed a letter of intent to partner with world leading integrated container logistics company Maersk, on a new Power-to-X facility on the U.S. Gulf Coast. The project will:
- Produce approximately 300,000 tons of e-methanol per year
- Supply Maersk with fuel for its newly ordered fleet of 12 methanol-powered vessels
- Be powered by approximately 1.2 GW of renewable energy from new onshore wind and solar PV farms
What is Power-to-X?Essentially, "turning electricity into something else.” Power-to-X is the umbrella term for both hydrogen electrolysis and a series of steps that can be added. For instance, when renewable hydrogen is combined with carbon, it can produce methanol, which in turn can be refined into other hydrocarbons. Or when combined with nitrogen — readily available as it constitutes about 80 percent of our atmosphere — it can be turned into ammonia, both a key component of fertilizers and potentially a carbon-free shipping 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 and thus using it as a fuel to produce energy does not release carbon dioxide (CO2).
Hydrogen is not a new product. Today, hydrogen is used primarily by heavy industry. Globally, about 115 megatons (Mt) of hydrogen are used each year, mostly in oil refineries, for production of ammonia and methanol, and for other chemical and industrial processes. Modern day demand is almost exclusively met with hydrogen produced by "cracking" fossil fuels at a molecular level — and 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 referred to as renewable hydrogen, is produced by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen using renewable electricity. The hydrogen is collected and used, while oxygen is released as the by-product if there is no need for it locally. The splitting process used is known as hydrogen electrolysis, a well-established technology which has been deployed commercially for decades around the world.
Why green hydrogen?Fortunately, electrolysis — using renewable electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen — offers an alternative path to produce hydrogen with no greenhouse gases emitted. Costs of wind and solar generation have decreased over the past decade to the point where renewable energy is more affordable than power generated from coal, gas or nuclear. Because of this, green hydrogen is quickly emerging as a key component in a truly decarbonized economy and world. Replacing fossil-based hydrogen with green hydrogen in industrial processes, as well as using green hydrogen to replace fossil fuels in heavy transportation, would save huge amounts of carbon emissions and make a significant contribution to America’s climate targets.
Is renewable hydrogen safe?Yes, hydrogen is safe if handled correctly. Industries have been using hydrogen in their processes for decades, so this is not a new technology or application. Hydrogen is a non-toxic gas at room temperature and atmospheric pressure. Hydrogen is explosive under certain conditions when mixed with air – similar to natural gas. Therefore, tried and tested international standards exist on how to design and monitor hydrogen installations.
What are the uses of hydrogen?
In the carbon-heavy sectors of industry and transportation, there are at least three immediate uses for renewable hydrogen in the short term:
- Replacing the use of fossil-based hydrogen with renewable hydrogen. Many current industry practices such as refining petroleum, treating metals, producing fertilizer, and processing foods all use hydrogen.
- Providing industrial heat for manufacturing processes, such as steelmaking, which are difficult to electrify.
- Using renewable hydrogen as a fuel or component of other e-fuels for transportation including medium- to heavy-duty land transportation, shipping, and aviation. E-fuels include products like methanol, ammonia, or kerosene based on renewable hydrogen.