Hydrogen – a solution to the RES integration challenge?

NSP image 14-03-2016
Hydrogen Plant – Energy from RES could be stored as hydrogen and delivered back to the power station on demand

 

In some scenarios up to 50% of the electricity demand in the EU by 2030, will be covered by energy from Renewable Energy Sources (RES).  The energy production from RES is energy production from variable energy sources, whose production is subject to both seasonal as well as hourly weather variability. This is a situation that the power system has not coped with before. System flexibility is needed, and will increasingly be driven by supply variability – or all the energy from RES could be used to produce Hydrogen, without any need of transmission and distribution through the power system.

The traditional thinking is that new systems and tools are required to ensure that the renewable energy is integrated into the power system effectively. One of the options for providing the required flexibility to the power system, is energy storage through use of battery technologies.  An another way of thinking is to use RES to produce hydrogen, and make hydrogen supply a stable energy source for delivery to the power system – the transmission of a variable energy source (RES) into a stable energy source (hydrogen).

Business opportunities

  1. International agreements – Norway has committed itself both through international agreements and national objectives to reduce the national emissions drastically in the years ahead, agreed upon according to the Kyoto protocol.
  2. RES – Norway has more than enough renewable power resources to produce the needed amount of hydrogen – both to be self-sufficient and to export to EU.
  3. Technology – Hydrogen is a highly interdisciplinary technology area which both demands knowledge about process technology and power production; fields in which Norwegian universities, research institutions and industry – maintain a high competance level.
  4. Transport sector – Norway’s near-term emission reduction will be made in the transport sector. The transport sector points itself out as the most attractive choice for drastic emission reductions, base on the fact that Norway already is well on its way in this area, boasting the worlds best incentives for zero emission vehicles (electric vehicles). Now Norway has the opportunity to add hydrogen to the transportation fuel portfolio.

Export of sustainable energy

Norway will far into the future continue to have vast resources of renewable energy, and Norway has without comparison the largest hydro power resources in Europe, the best conditions for both on-and offshore wind, and a lot of possibilities to produce renewable energy from other sources.

The downturn of oil thus represents a unique chance for Norway to utilize its brain power and high competence within energy technology, not only to ensure future income from the export of energy – but also make the country fit for the future by exporting sustainable energy to the world markets.

After years of fossil fuel exports, many would argue that Norway has a special responsibility to do so as well.

Could hydrogen production and storage be Norway’s next oil?

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