Accelerating the Green Hydrogen Industry

Orlando / 9 March 2021

The global effort to fight both the effects and root causes of the climate crisis is one in which our ambition is at risk of outpacing our resources. Our energy system is in the process of rapid decarbonization, but industry, manufacturing, and supply chains will all require substantial reinvention if they are to achieve carbon-neutrality. At Siemens Gamesa, we want to tackle these challenges directly.
Service CEO

Juan Gutiérrez

Green hydrogen, a fuel capable of being produced without carbon dioxide emissions, could act as a valuable means of decarbonizing a number of industries (the European Union has determined it to be essential for its net-zero strategy). It’s an incredibly young industry and its success will be determined not only by the imagination of scientists and engineers but, as ever, the reality of its cost-efficiency. More research, innovation, and especially demonstration in the field is needed to develop the next generation of green hydrogen technology, further reduce cost and ensure its economic viability.

At Siemens Gamesa, we are driving the green hydrogen revolution by investing in innovation and demonstration projects such as the Brande Hydrogen Project that we announced last December. It’s a pilot project that comprises an electrolyzer connected to an existing turbine,capable of producing green hydrogen directly from wind in “island mode” or connected to the grid.The pilot installationhas now produced the first kg of hydrogen in a test run,and we have also added a battery system to the site.

Green hydrogen, a fuel capable of being produced without carbon dioxide emissions
This will allow us to offset the effects that a variable power input such as wind energy will have on the electrolyzer and grid, thereby further paving the way for viable, cost-efficient green hydrogen production.
The wind, as we know, is a variable power source that will occasionally provide more energy than is needed, and sometimes not enough. By incorporating the battery system into the project, excess electricity can be stored in the battery when the turbine’s blades are still turning to store energy that can then be used with the electrolyzer so it can continue to produce hydrogen fuel.
Additionally, when the project is connected to the grid, the battery can act as a stabilizing power source and offtaker. As the amount of renewable energy sources to power grids around the world increase, we need better ways of dealing with variability. Batteries provide us with a way of doing this supporting the grid with ancillary services.
On another level, the battery can also extend the lifetime of the electrolyzer by ensuring a stable and high-quality power supply, thereby increasing the ultimate value of the component.

To ensure that the green hydrogen market matures at a pace that matches our growing need for carbon-free fuel, we need projects like Brande Hydrogen to act as pilots. Determining ways to increase the amount of green hydrogen that can be produced from wind power, while maintaining cost efficiency, will be an important factor in considering how to decarbonize various carbon-intensive sectors around the world.

By field-testing the equipment and showing that reliable and effective technical integration and implementation of wind turbines in systems for producing hydrogen from renewable energy is feasible, we can make the above scenario a reality.
But as our understanding of the intricate details of green hydrogen production evolves, so too must energy policy and regulation. The carbon-free fuel represents a huge opportunity for a world where demand for energy is increasing just as fast as the need to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

If we want a truly global hydrogen market, and that should be the aim of all who care about our climate, we need a holistic approach that ensures a commercial pathway that justifies the considerable amounts of funding invested in developing the technology. That means active buy-in from across the energy sector, from producers and wholesalers to operators and regional bodies, is a must.
Governments and international bodies must come together to encourage the growth of the nascent green hydrogen sector, removing the barriers to entry and increasing available opportunities, working with industry along the way. The right market structures for hydrogen generation must be put in place so that when the markets are ready, the volume is ready too. Andreas Nauen, CEO of Siemens Gamesa, recently signed a policy charter from the Renewable Energy Coalition to this end, calling for a new regulatory framework in the EU and the establishment of lead markets for the fuel.
The carbon-free fuel represents a huge opportunity for a world where demand for energy is increasing
Perhaps more than anything, there needs to be funding for incentives and market structures for demonstration sites that examine the implications of producing green hydrogen in a variety of settings and the impacts on many different sectors. Accelerating innovation and bringing new technology to markets more quickly will speed up economic recovery and lay out the foundations of world-class competitive electrolyzer and renewable energy industries.

Whichever way you look at it, successfully navigating the issue of wind’s variability in a way that leads to increased hydrogen production could change the renewables landscape completely. I’ll be sure to keep my connections updated on progress and would love to hear your thoughts.


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